Skip to main content

Full text of "Life among the Piutes, their wrongs and claims"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 




The Arthur and Elizabeth 

on the History of Women 
in America 


Digitized by 





^.^i^^-, X>z^ 


Digitized by 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


Llfe Among THE PiuTES: 

^etr SEronss anti Claims* 








283 WASHINGTOI# street; 

G. p. PUTNAM'S sons; >IEW YORK; 



Digitized by 


^10' i 

CopyHght, by 
Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins. 

TV tvV-i^/ 


4 Pkasl STRBKT. 

Digitized by 



My editing has consisted in copying the original manu- 
script in correct orthography and punctuation, with occa- 
sional emendations by the author, of a book which is an 
heroic act on the part of the writer. Mrs. Hopkins came 
to the East from the Pacific coast with the courageous 
purpose of telling in detail to the mass of our people, 
" extenuating nothing and setting down naught in malice," 
the story of her people's trials. Finding that in extem- 
poraneous speech she could only speak at one time of a 
few points, she determined to write out the most important 
part of what she wished to say. In fighting with her 
literary deficiencies she loses some of the fervid eloquence 
which het extraordinary colloquial command of the English 
language enables her to utter, but I am confident that no 
one would desire that her own original words should be 
altered. It is the first outbreak of the American Indian 
in human literature, and has a single aim — to tell the truth 
as it lies in the heart and mind of a true patriot, and one 
whose knowledge of the two races gives her an opportunity 
of comparing them justly. At this moment, when the 
United States seem waking up to their duty to the original 
possessors of our immense territory, it is of the first im- 
portance to hear what only an Indian and an Indian 
woman can tell. To tell it was her own deep impulse, and 
the dying charge given her by her father, the truly parental 
chief of his beloved tribe. m. m. 

Digitized by 




I. First Meeting of Piutes and Whites . 5 

II. Domestic and Social Moralities ... 45 

III. W^RS and their Causes 58 

IV. Captain Truckee*s Death 66 

V. Reservation ^ of Pyramid and Muddy 

Lakes 76 

VI. The Malheur Agency 105 

VII. The Bannock War 137 

VIII. The Yakima Affair 203 

Appendix 249 

Digitized by 





I WAS born somewhere near 1844, but am not sure of the 
precise time. I was a very small child when the first white 
people came into our country. They came like a lion, yes, 
like a roaring lion, and have continued so ever since, and 
I have never forgotten their first coming. My people were 
scattered at that time over nearly all the territory now 
known as Nevada. My grandfather was chief of the entire 
Piute nation, and was camped near Humboldt Lake, with a 
small portion of his tribe, when a party travelling eastward 
from California was seen coming. When the news was 
brought to my grandfather, he asked what they looked 
like ? When told that they had hair on their faces, and 
•were white, he jumped up and clasped his hands together, 
and cried aloud, — 

"My white brothers, — my long-looked for white broth 
ers have come at last 1 " 

He immediately gathered some of his leading men, and 
went to the place where the party had gone into camp. 
Arriving near them, he was commanded to halt in a man- 
ner that was readily understood without an interpreter. 


Digitized by 


6 Life Among the Piutes. 

Grandpa at once made signs of friendship by throwing 
down his robe and throwing up his arms to show them he 
had no weapons ; but in vain, — they kept him at a dis- 
tance. He knew not, what to do. He had expected so 
much pleasure in welcoming his white brothers to the best 
in the land, that after looking at them sorrowfully for a 
little while, he came away quite unhappy. But he would 
not give them up so easily. He took some of his most 
trustworthy men and followed them day after day, camping 
near them at night, and travelling in sight of them by day, 
hoping in this way to gain their confidence. But he was 
disappointed, poor dear old soul ! 

I can imagine his feelings, for I have drank deeply from 
the same cup. When I think of my past life, and the bit- 
ter trials I have endured, I can scarcely believe I live, and 
yet I do ; and, with the help of Him who notes the spar- 
row*s fall, I mean to fight for my down-trodden race while 
life lasts. 

Seeing they would not trust him, my grandfather left 
them, saying, " Perhaps they will come again next year." 
Then he summoned his whole people, and told them this 
tradition : — 

" In the beginning of the world there were only four, 
two girls and two boys. Our forefather and mother were 
only two, and we are their children. You all know that a 
great while ago there was a happy family in this world. 
One ^irl and one boy were dark and the others were* 
white. For a time they got along together without quar- 
relling, but soon they disagreed, and there was trouble. 
They were cross to one another and fought, and our par- 
ents were very much grieved. They prayed that their 
children might learn better, but it did not do any good ; 
and afterwards the whole household was made, so unhappy 
that the father and mother saw that they must separate 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 7 

their children ; and then our father took the dark boy and 
girl, and thfe white boy and girl, and asked them, * Why are 
you so cruel to each other ? ' They hung down their heads, 
and would not speak. They were ashamed. He said to 
them, * Have I not been kind to you all, and. given you 
everything your hearts wished for ? You do not have to 
hunt and kill your own game to live upon. You see, my 
dear children, I have power to call whatsoever kind of game 
we want to eat ; and I also have the power to separate my 
dear children, if they are not good to each other.' So he 
separated his children by a word. He said, * Depart from 
each other, you cruel children ; — go across the mighty 
ocean and do not seek each other's lives.' 

" So the light girl and boy disappeared by that one word, 
and their parents saw them no more, and they were grieved, 
although they knew their children were happy. And by- 
and-by the dark children grew into a large nation ; and we 
believe it is the one we belong to, and that the nation that 
sprung from the white children will some time send some 
one to meet us and heal all the old trouble. Now, the 
white people we saw a few days ago must certainly be our 
white brothers, and I want to welcome them. I want to 
love them as I love all of you. But they would not let me ; 
they were afraid. But they will come again, and I want 
you one and all to promise that, should I not live to wel- 
come them' myself, you will not hurt a hair on their heads, 
but welcome them as I tried to do." 

How good of him to try and heal the wound, and how 
vain were his efforts I My people had never seen a white 
man, and yet they existed, and were a strong race. 
The people promised as he wished, and they all went hack 
to their work. 

The next year came a great emigration, and camped 
near Humboldt Lake. The name of the man in charge of 

Digitized by 


8 Life Among the Piutes. 

the trains was Captain Johnson, and they stayed three days 
to rest their horses, as they had a long journey before them 
without water. During their stay my grandfather and some 
of his people called upon them, and they all shook hands, 
and when our white brothers were going away they gave 
my grandfather a white tin plate. Oh, what a time they 
had over that beautiful gift, — it was so bright 1 They say 
that after they left, my grandfather called for all his people 
to come together, and he then showed them the beautiful 
gift which he had received from his white brothers. Every- 
body was so pleased ; nothing like it was ever seeA in 
our country before. My grandfather thought so much of 
it that he bored holes in it and fastened it on his head, 
and wore it as his hat. He held it in as much admiration 
as my white sisters hold their diamond rings or a sealskin 
jacket. So that winter they talked of nothing but their 
white brothers. The following spring there came great 
news down the Humboldt River, saying that there were 
some more of the white brothers coming, and there was 
something among them that was burning all in a blaze. 
My grandfather asked them what it was like. They told 
him it looked like a man ; it had legs and hands and a 
head, but the head had quit burning, and it was left quite 
black. There was the greatest excitement among my 
people everywhere about the men in a blazing fire. They 
were excited because they did not know there were any 
people in the world but the two, — that is, the Indians and 
the whites ; they thought that was all of us in the begin- 
ning of the world, and, of course, we did not know where 
the others had come from, and we don't know yet. Ha ! 
ha! oh, what a laughable thing that was! It was two 
negroes wearing red shirts ! 

The third year more emigrants came, and th^t summer 
Captain Fremont, who is now General Fremont 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 9 

My grandfather met him, and they were soon friends. 
They met just where the railroad crosses Truckee River, 
now called Wadsworth, Nevada. Captain Fremont gave 
my grandfather the name' of Captain Truckee, and he 
also called the river after him. Truckee is an Indian 
word \ it means all rights or very well, A party of twelve 
of my people went to California with Captain Fremont. I 
do not know just how long they were gone. 

During the time my grandfather was away in California, 
where he staid till after the Mexican war, there was a girl- 
baby born in our family. I can just remember it. It 
must have been in spring, because everything was green. 
I was away playing with some other children when my 
mother called me to come to her. So I ran to her. She 
then asked me to sit down, which I did. She then handed 
me some beautiful beads, and asked me if I would like 
to buy something with them. I said : — 

"Yes, mother, — some pine nuts." 

My mother said : — 

" Would you like something else you can love and play 
with ? Would you like to have a little sister ? " I said, — 

"Yes, dear mother, a little, little sister ; not like my sister 
Mary, for she won't let me play with her. She leaves me 
and goes with big girls to play ; " and then my mother 
wanted to know if I would give my pretty beads for the 
little sister. 

Just then the baby let out such a cry it frightened me ; 
and I jumped up and cried so that my mother took me in 
her arms, and said it was a little sister for me, and not to 
be afraid. This is all I can remember about it. 

When my grandfather went to California he helped Cap- 
tain Fremont fight the Mexicans. When he came back he 
told the people what a beautiful country California was. 
Only elevei) returned home, one having died on the way 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

10 Life Amoftg the Piutes, , 

They spoke to their people in the English language, 
which was very strange to them all. 

Captain Truckee, my grandfather, was very proud of it, 
indeed. They all brought guns with them. My grand- 
father would sit down with us for hours, and would say ' 
over and over again, " Goodee gun, goodee, goodee gun, * 
heap shoot." They also brought some of the soldiers' 
clothes with all their brass buttons, and my people were 
very much astonished to see the clothes, and all that time 
they were peaceable toward their white brothers. They 
had learned to love them, and they hoped more of them 
would come. Then my people were less barbarous than 
they are nowadays. 

That same fall, after my. grandfather came home, he told 
my father to take charge of his people and hold the tribe, as 
he was going back to California with as many of his people 
as he could get to go with him. So my father took his 
place as Chief of the Piutes, and had it as long as he 
lived. Then my grandfather started back to California 
again with about thirty families. That same fall, very 
late, the emigrants kept coming. It was this time that our 
white brothers first came amongst us. They could not get 
over the mountains, so they had to live with us. It was 
on Carson River, where the great Carson City stands now. 
You call my people bloodseeking.* My people did not 
seek to kill them, nor did they steal their horses, — no, no, 
far from it. During the winter my people helped them. 
They gave them such as they had to eat. They did not 
hold out their hands and say : — 

" You can't have anything to eat unless you pay me." 

No, — no such word .was used by us savages at that time ; 

and the persons I am speaking of are living yet ; they 

could speak for us if they choose to do so. 

The following spring, before my grandfather returned 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. \ i 

home, there was a great excitement among my people on 
account of fearful news coming from different tribes, that 
the people whom they called their white brothers were kill- 
ing everybody that came in their way, and all the Indian 
tribes had gone into the mountains to save their lives. So 
my father told all his people to go into the mountains and 
hunt and lay up food for the coming winter. Then we all 
went into the mountains. There was a fearful story they 
told us children. Our mothers told us that the whites were 
killing everybody and eating tliem. So we were all afraid 
of them. Every dust that we could see blowing in the val- 
leys we would say it was the white people. In the late fall 
my father told his people to go to the rivers and fish, and 
we all went to- Humboldt River, and the women went to 
work gathering wild seed, which they grind between the 
rocks. The stones are round, big enough to hold in the 
hands. The women did this when they got back, and 
when they had gathered all they could they put it ia, one 
place and covered it with grass, and then over the grass 
mud. After it is covered it looks like an Indian wigwam. 
Oh, what a fright we all got one morning to hear some 
white people were coming. Every one ran as best they 
could. My poor mother was left with my little sister and 
me. Oh, I never can forget it. My poor mother was 
carrying my little sister on her back, and trying to make 
me run ; but I was so frightened I could not move my 
feet, and while my poor mother was trying to get me along 
my aunt overtook us, and she said to my mother : " Let us 
bury our girls, or we shall all be killed and eaten up." So 
they went to work and buried us, and told us if we heard 
any noise not to cry out, for if we did they would surely 
kill us and eat us. So our mothers buried me and my 
cousin, planted sage bushes over our faces to keep the sun 
from burning them, and there we were left all day. 

Digitized by 


12 Life Among the Piutes, 

Oh, can any one imagine my feelings buried alive^ think' 
ing every minute that I was to be unburied and eaten up 
by the people that my grandfather loved so much ? With 
my heart throbbing, and not daring to breathe, we lay 
there all day. It seemed that the night would never 
come. Thanks be to God ! the night came at last. Oh, 
how I cried and said : " Oh, father, have you forgotten 
me ? Are you never coming for me ? " I cried so I thought 
my very heartstrings would break. 

At last we heard some whispering. We did not dare to 
whisper to each other, so we lay still. I could hear their 
footsteps coming nearer and nearer. I thought my heart 
was coming right out of my mouth. Then I heard my 
mother say, " 'T is right here ! " Oh, can any one in this 
world ever imagine what were my feelings when I was dug 
up by my poor mother and father ? My cousin and I were 
once more happy in our mothers' and fathers* care, and we 
were taken to where all the rest were. 

I was once buried alive ; but my second burial shall be 
for ever, where no father or mother will come and dig me 
up. It shall not be with throbbing heart that I shall listen 
for coming footsteps. I shall be in the sweet rest of peace, 
— I, the chieftain's weary daughter. 

Well, while we were in the mountains hiding, the people 
that my grandfather called our white brothers came along 
to where our winter supplies were. They set everj^hing 
we had left on fire. It was a fearful sight. It was all we 
had for the winter, and it was all burnt during that night. 
My fatiier took some of his men during the night to try 
and save some of it, but they could not ; it had burnt 
down before they got there. 

These were the last white men that came- along that fall. 
My people talked fearfully that winter about those they 
called our white brothers. My people said they had some* 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of PitUes and Whites, 13 

thing like awful thunder and lightning, and with that they 
killed ever}1:hing that came in their way. 

This whole band of white people perished in the moun- 
tains, for it was too late to cross them. We could have 
saved them, only my people were afraid of them. We 
never knew who they were, or where they came from. So, 
poor things, they must have suffered fearfully, for they all 
starved there. The snow was too deep. 

Early in the following spring, my father told all his 
people to go to the mountains, for there would be a great 
emigration that summer. He told them he had had a 
wonderful dream, and wanted to tell them all about it. 

He said, " Within ten days come together at the sink of 
Carson, and I will tell you my dream." 

The sub-chiefs went everywhere to tell their people 
what my father had told them to say ; and when the time 
came we all went to the sink of Carson. 

Just about noon, while we were on the way, a great many 
of our men came to meet us, all on their horses. Oh, what 
a beautiful song they sang for my father as they came near 
us! . We passed them, and they followed us, and as we 
came near to the encampment,' every man, woman, and 
child were out looking for us. They had a place all ready 
for us. Oh, how happy everybody was ! One could hear 
laughter everywhere, and songs were sung by happy women 
and children. 

My father stood up and told his people to be merry and 
happy for five days. It is a rule among our people always 
to have five days to settle anything. My father told them 
to dance at night, and that the men should hunt rabbits 
and fish, and some were to have games of football, or any 
kind of sport or pla)rthings they wished, and the women 
could do the same, as they had nothing else to do. My 
people were so happy during the five days, — the women 
ran races, and the men ran races on foot and on horses. 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

14 Life Among the Piutes. 

My father got up very early one morning, and told his 
people the time had come, — that we could no longer be 
happy as of old, as the white people we called our brothers 
had brought a great trouble and sorrow among us already. 
He went on and said, — 

"These white people must be a great nation, as they 
have houses that move. It is wonderful to see them move 
along. I fear we will suffer greatly by their 'coming to our 
country ; they come for no good to us, although my father 
said they were our brothers, but they do not seem to think 
we are like them. What do you all think about it ? May- 
be I am wrong. My dear children, there is something 
telling me that I am not wrong, because I am sure they 
have minds like us, and think as we do ; and I know that 
they were doing wrong when they set fire to our winter 
supplies. They surely knew it was our food." 

And this was the first wrong done to us by our white 

Now comes the end of our merrymaking. 

Then my father told his people his fearful dream, as he 
called it. He said, — 

" I dreamt this same thing three nights, — the very same. 
I saw the greatest emigration that has yet been through our 
country. I looked North and South and East and West, 
and saw nothing but dust, and I heard a great weeping. 
I saw women crying, and I also saw my men shot down by 
the white people. They were killing my people with some- 
thing that made a great noise like thunder and lightning, 
and I saw the blood streaming from the mouths of my men 
that lay all around me. I saw it as if it was real. Oh, my 
dear children ! You may all think it is only a dream, — never- 
theless, I feel that it will come to pass. And to avoid 
bloodshed, we must all go to the mountains during the sum- 
mer, or till my father comes back from California. He will 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of PitUes and Whites. 15 

then teli us what to da Let us keep away from the emi- 
grant roads and stay in the mountains all summer. There 
are to be a great many pine-nuts this summer, and we can 
lay up great supplies for the coming winter, and if the emi- 
grants don't come too early, we can take a run down and 
fish for a month, and lay up dried fish. I know we can dry 
a great many in a month, and young men can go into the 
valleys on hunting excursions, and kill as many rabbits as 
they can. In that way we can live in the mountains all 
summer and all winter too." 

So ended my father's dream. During that day one 
could see old women getting together talking over what 
they had heard my father say. They said, — 

" It is true what our great chief has said, for it was shown 
to him by a higher power. It is not a dream. Oh, it 
surely will come to pass. We shall po longer be a happy 
people, as we now are ; we shall no longer go here and 
there as of old ; we shall no longer build our big fires as a 
signal to our friends, for we shall always be afraid of being 
seen by those bad people." 

" Surely they don't eat people ? " 

" Yes, they do eat people, because they ate each other 
up in the mountains last winter." 

This was the talk among the old women during the day. 

" Oh, how grieved we are ! Oh, where will it end ? " 

That evening one of our doctors called for a council, and 
all the men gathered together in the council-tent to hear 
what their medicine man had to say, for we all believe our 
doctor is greater than any human being living. We do not 
call him a medicine man because he gives medicine to the 
sick, as your doctors do. Our medicine man cures the 
sick by the laying on of hands, and we have doctresses as 
well as doctors. We believe that our doctors can com- 
municate with holy spirits from heaven. We call heaven 
the Spirit Land. 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

1 6 Life Among the Piutes, 

Well, when all the men get together, of course there 
must be smoking the first thing. After the pipe has passed 
round five times to the right, it stops, and then he tells 
them to sing five songs. He is the leader in the song- 
singing. He sings heavenly songs, and he says he is sing- 
ing with the angels. It is hard to describe these songs. 
They are all different, and he says the angels sing them to 

Our doctors never sing war-songs, except at a war- 
dance, as they never go themselves on the war-path. 
While they were singing the last song, he said,— 

" Now I am going into a trance. While I ' am in the 
trance you must smoke just as you did before ; not a word 
must be spoken while I am in the trance." 

About fifteen minutes after the smoking was over, he 
"began to make a noise as if he was crying a great way off,- 
The noise came nearer and nearer, until he breathed, and 
after he came to, he kept on crying. And then he prophe- 
sied, and told the people that my father's dream was true 
in one sense of the word, — that is, " Our people will not 
all die at the hands of our white brothers. They will kill 
a great many with their guns, but they will bring among us 
a fearful disease that will cause us to die by hundreds." 

We all wept, for we believed this word came from 
heaven. — 

So ended our feast, and every family went to its own 
home in the pine-nut mountains, and remained there till 
the pine-nuts were ripe. They ripen about the last of 

Late in that fall, there came news that my grandfather 
was on his way home. Then my father took a great many 
of his men and went to meet his father, and there came 
back a runner, saying, that all our people must come to- 
gether. It was said that my grandfather was bringing bad 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites, ly 

• ^ 

news. All our people came to receive their chieftain ; all 
the old and young men and their wives went to meet him. 
One evening there came a man, saying that all the women 
who had little children should go to a high mountain. 
They wanted them to go because they brought white men's 
guns, and they made such a fearful noise, it might even kill 
some of the little children. My grandfather had lost one 
of his men while he was away. 

So all the women that had little children went. My 
mother was among the rest ; and every time the guns were 
heard by us, the children would scream. I thought, for 
one that my heart would surely break. So some of the 
women went down from the mountain and told them not 
to shoot any more, or their children would die with fright. 
When our mothers brought us down to our homes the 
nearer we came to the camp, the more I cried, — 

'* Oh, mother, mother, don't take us there ! " I fought 
my mother, — I bit her. Then my father came, and took me 
in his arms and carried me to the camp, I put my head 
in his bosom, and would not look up for a long time. I 
heard my grandfather say, — 

" So the young lady is ashamed because her sweetheart 
has come to see her. Come, dearest, that won't do after I 
have had such a hard time to come to see my sweetheart, 
that she should be ashamed to look at me." 

Then he called my two brothers to him, and said to 
them, ** Are you glad to see me ? " And my brothers both 
told him that they were glad to see him. Then my grand- 
father said to them,- — 

" See that young lady ; she does not love her sweetheart 
any more, does she ? Well, I shall not live if she does not 
come and tell me she loves me. 1 shall take that gun, and 
I shall kill myself." 

That made me worse than ever, and I screamed and 

Digitized by 


l8 Life Among the Piutes, 

cried so hard that my mother had to take me away. So 
ihey kept weeping for the little one three or four days. I 
did not make up with my grandfather for a long time. He 
sat day after day, and night after night, telling his people 
about his white brothers. . He told them that the whites 
were really their brothers, that they were very kind to 
everybody, especially to children ; that they were always 
ready to give something to children. He told them what 
beautiful things their white brothers had, — what beautiful 
clothes they wore, and about the big houses that go on the 
mighty ocean, and travel faster than any horse in the 
world. His people asked him how big they were. " Well, 
as big as that hill you see there, and as high as the moun- 
tain over us." 

" Oh, that is not possible, — it would sink, surely." 

*' It is every word truth, and that is nothing to what I 
am going to tell you. Our white brothers are a mighty 
nation, and have more wonderful things than that. They 
have a gun that can shoot a ball bigger than my head, that 
can go as far off as that mountain you see over there." 

The mountain he spoke of at that time was about twenty 
miles across from where we were. People opened their 
eyes when my grandfather told of the many battles they 
had with the Mexicans, and about their killing so many of 
the Mexicans, and taking their big city away from them, 
and how mighty they were. These wonderful things were 
talked about all winter long. The funniest thing was that 
he would sing some of the soldier's roll-calls, and the air 
to the Star-spangled Banner, which everybody learned dur- 
ing the winter. 

He then showed us a more wonderful thing than all the 
others that he had brought. It was a paper, which he said 
could talk to him. He took it out and he would talk to it, 
and talk with it. He said, " This can talk to all our white 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes attd Whites, 19 

brothers, and our white sisters, and their children. Our 
white brothers are beautiful, and our white sisters are 
beautiful, and their children are beautiful ! He also said 
the paper can travel like the wind, and it can go and 
talk with their fathers and brothers and sisters, and come 
back to tell what they are doing, and whether they are 
well or sick." 

After my grandfather told us this, our doctors and doc- 
tresses said, — 

" If they can do this wonderful thing, they are not truly 
human, but pure spirits. None but heavenly spirits can 
do such wonderful things. We can communicate with the 
spirits, yet we cannot do wonderful things like them. Oh, 
our great chieftain, we are afraid your white brothers will 
yet make your people's hearts bleed. You see if they don't ; 
for we can see it. Their blood is all around us, and the 
dead are lying all about us, and we cannot escape it. It will 
come. Then you will say our doctors and doctresses did 
know. Dance, sing, play, it will do no good ; we cannot 
drive it away. They have already done the mischief, while 
you were away." 

But this did not go far with my grandfather. He kept 
talking toliis people about the good white people, and told 
them all to get ready to go with him to California the fol- 
lowing spring. 

Very late that fall, my grandfather and my father and a 
great many more went down to the Humboldt River to fish. 
They brought back a great many fish, which we were very 
glad to get ; for none of our people had been down to fish 
the whole summer. 

When they came back, they brought us more news. 
They said there were some white people living at the 
Humboldt sink. They were the first ones my father had 
seen face to face. He said they were not like " humans." 

Digitized by 


20 Life Among the Piutes. 

They were more like owls than any thing else. They had 
hair on their faces, and had white eyes, and looked beau- 

I tell you we children had to be very good, indeed, during 
the winter ; for we were told that if we were not good they 
would come and eat us up. We remained there all winter ; 
the next spring the emigrants came as usual, and my father 
and grandfather and uncles, and many more went down on 
the Humboldt River on fishing excursions. While they 
were thus fishing, their white brothers came upon them 
and fired on them, and killed one of my uncles, and 
wounded another. Nine more were wounded, and five 
died afterwards. My other uncle got well again, and is 
living yet. Oh, that was a fearful thing, indeed I 

After all these things had happened, my grandfather still 
stood up for his white brothers. 

Our people had council after council, to get my grand- 
father to give his consent that they should go and kill 
those white men who were at the sink of Humboldt. No ; 
they could do nothing of the kind while he lived. He told 
his people that his word was more to him than his son's 
life, or any one else's life either. 

** Dear children," he said, " think of your own words to 
me ; — you promised. You want me to say to you, Go and 
kill those that are at the sink of Humboldt. After your 
promise, how dare you to ask me to let your hearts be 
stained with the blood of those who are innocent of the 
deed that has been done to us by others ? Is not my dear 
beloved son laid alongside of your dead, and you say I 
stand up for their lives. Yes, it is very hard, indeed ; but, 
nevertheless, I know and you know that those men who 
live at the sink are not the ones that killed our men." 

* When asked to explain this, she said, " Oh, their eyes were blue, and they 
had long beards." — Editor. 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites, 21 

While my grandfather was talking, he wept, and men, 
women, and children, were all weeping. One could hardly 
hear him talking. 

After he was through talking, came the saddest part. 
The widow of my uncle who was killed, and my mother 
and father all had long hair. They cut off their hair, and 
also cut long gashes in their arms and legs, and they were 
all bleeding as if they would die with the loss of blood. 
This continued for several days, for this is the way we 
mourn for our dead. When the woman's husband dies, 
she is first to cut off her hair, and then she braids it and 
puts it across his breast; then his mother and sisters, his 
father and brothers and all his kinsfolk cut their hair. 
The widow is to remain unmarried until her hair is the 
same length as before, and her face is not to be washed all 
that time, and she is to use no kind of paint, nor to make 
any merriment with other women until the day is set for 
her to do so by her father-in-law, or if she has no father-in- 
law, by her mother-in-law, and then she is at liberty to go 
where she pleases. The widower is at liberty when his 
wife dies ; but he mourns for her in the same way, by cut- 
ting his hair off. 

It was late that fall when my grandfather prevailed with 
his people to go with him to California. It was this time 
that my mother accompanied him. Everything had been 
got ready to start on our journey. My dear father was to 
be left behind. How my poor mother begged to stay with 
her husband ! But my grandfather told her that she could 
come back in the spring to see her husband ; so we started 
for California, leaving my poor papa behind. All my kins- 
folk went with us but one aunt and her children. 

The first night found us camped at the sink of Carson, 
and the second night we camped on Carson River. The 
third day, as we were travelling along the river, some of 

Digitized by 


22 Life Among the Piutes. 

our men who were ahead, came back and said there were 
some of our white brothers' houses ahead of us. So my 
grandfather told us all to stop where we were while he 
went to see them. He was not gone long, and when he 
came back he brought some hard bread which they gave 
him. He told us that was their food, and he gave us all 
some to taste. That was the first I eve^: tasted. 

Then my grandfather once more told his people that his 
paper talked for him, and he said, — 

" Just as long as I live and have that paper which my 
white brothers' great chieftain has given me, I shall stand 
by them, come what will." He held the paper up towards 
heaven and kissed it, as 'if it was really a person. **0h, if 
I should lose this," he said, " we shall all be lost. So, 
children, get your horses ready, and we will go on, and we 
will camp with them to-night, or by them, for I have a sweet- 
heart along who is dying for fear of my white brothers." 
He meant me ; for^ I was always crying and hiding under 
somebody's robes, for we had no blankets then. 

Well, we went on ; but we did not camp with them, be- 
cause my poor mother and brothers and sisters -told my 
grandfather that I was sick with crying for fright, and for 
him not to camp too close to them. The women were 
speaking two words for themselves and one for me, for 
they ^ere just as afraid as I was. I had seen my brother 
Natchez crying when the men came back, and said there 
were white men ahead of us. So my grandfather did as 
my mother wished him to do, and we went on by them ; but 
I did not know it, as I had my head covered while we were 
passing their camp. I was riding behind my older brother, 
and we went on and camped quite a long way from them 
that night. 

So we travelled on to California, but did not see any 
more of our white brothers till we got to the head of 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites, 23 

Carson River, about fifteen miles above where great Car- 
son City now stands. 

" Now give me the baby." It was my baby-sister that 
grandpa took from my mother, and I peeped from under 
my mother's fur, and I saw some one take my little sister. 
Then I cried out, — 

" Oh, my sister ! Don't let them take her away." 

And once more my poor grandfather told his people 
that his white brothers and sisters were very kind to chil- 
dren. I stopped crying, and looked at them again. Then 
I saw them give my brother and sister something white. 
My mother asked her father what it was, and he said it 
was Pe-har-be^ which means sugar. Just then one of the 
women came to my mother with some in her hand, and 
grandpa said : — 

" Take it, my child." 

Then I held out my hand without looking. That was 
the first gift I ever got from a white person, which made 
my heart very glad. 

When they went away, my grandfather called me to him, 
and said I must not be afraid of the white people, for 
they are very good. I told him that they looked so very 
bad I could not help it. 

We travelled with them at that time two days, and the 
third day we all camped together where some white people 
were living in large white houses. My grandpa went to 
one of the houses, and when he came back he said his 
white brothers wanted him to come and get some beef and 
hard bread. So he took four men with him to get it, and 
they gave him four boxes of hard bread and a whole side 
of beef, and the next morning we got our horses ready to 
go on again. There was some kind of a fight, — that is, the 
captain of the train was whipping negroes who were driving 
his team. That made my poor grandfather feel very badly. 

Digitized by 


24 Life Among the Piutes, 

He went to the captain, and told him he would not travel 
with him. He came back and said to his people that he 
would not travel with his white brothers any farther. We 
travelled two days without seeing any more of my grand- 
father's white brothers. At last we came to a very large 
encampment of white people, and they ran out of their 
wagons, or wood-houses, as we called them, and. gathered 
round us. I was riding behind tny brother. I was so 
afraid, I told him to put his robe over nie, but he did r^ot 
do so. I scratched him and bit him on his back, and then 
my poor grandfather rode up to the tents where they were, 
and he was asked to stay there all night with them. After 
grandpa had talked awhile, he said to his people that he 
would camp with his brothers. So he did. Oh, what nice 
things we all got from my grandpa's white brothers ! Our 
men got red shirts, and our women got calico for dresses. 
Oh, what a pretty dress my sister got 1 I did not get any- 
thing, because I hid all the time. I was hiding under some 
robes. No one knew where I was. After all the white 
people were gone, I heard my poor mother cry out : — 

" Oh, where is my little girl ? Oh, father, can it be that 
the white people have carried her away? Oh, father, go 
and find her, — go, go, and find her ! " And I also heard my 
brothers and sister cry. Yet I said nothing, because 
they had not called me to get some of the pretty things. 
When they began to cry, I began crawling out, and then 
my grandfather scolded me, and told me that his brothers 
loved good children, but not bad ones like me. How I did 
cry, and wished that I had staid at home with my father ! 
I went to sleep crying. 

I did not forget what had happened. There was a 
house near where we camped. My grandfather went 
down to the house with some of his men, and pretty soon 
we saw them coming back. They were carrying large 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 25 

boxes, and we were all looking at them. My mother said 
there were, two white men coming with them. 

" Oh, mother, what shall I do ? Hide me ! " 

I just danced round like a wild one, which I was. I was 
behind my mother. When they were coming nearer, I 
heard my grandpa say, — 

" Make a place for them to sit down." 

Just then, I peeped round my mother to see them. I 
gave one scream, and said, — 

" Oh, mother, the owls ! " 

I only saw their big white eyes, and I thought their 
faces were all hair. My mother said, — 

"I wish you would send your brothers away, for my 
child will die." 

I imagined I could see their big white eyes all night 
long. They were the first ones I had ever seen in my 

We went on the next day, and passed some more of our 
white brothers' houses, as we called their wagons at that 
time. We camped on the Sanvada mountains and spent the 
night. My grandfather said everything that was good 
about the white people to me. At last we were camped 
tipon the summit, and it snowed very hard all night, and 
in the morning my grandfather told his people to hurry 
and get their horses, and travel on, for fear we might get 
snowed into the mountains. That night we overtook some 
emigrants who were camped thjpre to rest their oxen. This 
time I watched my grandfather to see what he would do. 
He said, " I am going to show them my rag friend again." 
As he rode up to one of their tents, three white men came 
out to him ; then they took him to a large tent. Quite a 
number of white men came out to him. I saw him take 
out the paper he called his rag friend and give it to one of 
the men who stood looking at it ; then he looked up and 

Digitized by 


26 Life Among the Piuies. 

came toward him and held out his hand to my grandfather, 
and then the rest of the white men did the same all round. 
Th^n the little children and the women did the same, and 
I saw the little ones running to their tents and back again 
with something in their hands, and they were giving it to 
each man. The next morning I could not eat, and said 
to my mother, — 

" Let us go back to father — let us not go with grandpa, 
for. he is bad." My poor mother said, " We can 't go 
alone ; we would all be killed if we go, for we have no rag 
friend- as father has. And dear, you must be good, and 
grandpa will love you just as well as ever. You must do 
what he tells you to do." 

Oh, how badly I did feel ! I held my two hands over my 
face, and was crying as if my heart would break. 

" My dear, don 't cry ; here comes grandpa." 

I heard him say, — 

"Well, well, is my sweetheart never going to stop 
cr}dng? Come, dear, I have something for my baby; 
Come and see what it is." 

So I went to him with my head down, not because I was 
afraid he would whip me, — no — no, for Indians do not 
whip their children. Oh, how happy I was when he told 
me he would give me something very beautiful. It was a 
little cup, and it made me very glad, indeed ; and he told 
me it was to drink water out of, not to wear. He said, — 

" I am going to tell you what I did with a beautiful gift I 
received from my white brothers. It was of the same. 
kind, only it was flat and round, and it was as bright as 
your cup is now.'* 

He said to his wife, " Give me my bright hat ; " and 
she did so. 

" You see I used to wear it on my head, because my 
white brother did not tell me what it was for." Then he 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 27 

began to laugh, and he laughed so long ! then he stopped 
and said, " it was not to wear, but to eat out of, and I have 
made myself a fool by wearing it as a hat. Oh, how my 
brothers did laugh at me because I wore it at our first 
fight with Mexicans in Mexico. Now, dearest children, I 
do not want you to think my brothers laughed at m^ to 
make fun of me; no — no — it was because I wore the 
tin plate for a hat, that 's all." 

He also said they had much prettier things than this to 
eat out of. He went on and told us never to take anything 
belonging to them or lying outside of his white brothers* 
houses. " They hang their clothes out of doors after wash- 
ing them ; but they are not thrown away, and for fear some 
of you might think so and take them, I tell you about it. 
Therefore, never take anything unless they give it to you ; 
then they will love you." 

So I kept thinking over what he said to me about the 
good white people, and saying to myself, "I will make 
friends v.ith them when we come into California." 

When we came to Sacramento valley (it is a very beauti- 
ful valley), my grandfather said to his people that a great 
many of his white brothers were there, and he knew a great 
many of them ; but we would not go there, — we would go on 
to Stockton. There he had a very good brother, who had a 
very big house, made of red stone ; it was so high that it 
would tire any one to go up to some of the rooms. My 
uncle, my mother's brother, asked him how many rooms 
were up there ? My grandpa said, — 

" We have to climb up three times to get to the top." 
They all laughed, as much as to say my grandpa lied. 
He said, "You will not laugh when I show you what won- 
derful things my white brothers can do. I will tell you 
something more wonderful than that. My brother has a 
big house that runs on the river, and it whistles and makes 

Digitized by 


28 Life Among the Piutes. 

a beautiful noise, and it has a bell on it which makes a 
beautiful noise also." My uncle asked again how big it 
was. X 

"Oh, you will see for yourself; we will get there to- 
morrow night. We will stop there ten days, and you can 
see for yourselves, and then you will know, my brothers, that 
what I have told you is true." 

After travelling all day we went into camp for the night. 
We had been there but a little while, and there came a 
great many men on horseback, and camped near us. I 
ran to my mother and said I was sleepy, and wanted to go 
to bed. I did so because I did not want to see them, and 
I knew grandpa would have them come to see us. I heard 
him say he was going to see them. I lay down quietly for 
a little while, and then got up and looked round to see if 
my brother was going too. There was no one but my 
mother and little sister. They had all gone to see them. 

"Lie down, dear," my mother said. 

I did so, but I did not sleep for a long time, for I was 
thinking about the house that runs on the water. I won- 
dered what it was like. I kept saying to myself, " Oh, I 
wish it was to-morrow now." I heard mother say, — 

" Tliey are coming." Pretty soon I heard grandpa say, 
"They are not my brothers." Mother Said, "Who are 

"They are what my brothers call Mexicans. They are 
the people we fought ; if they knew who I was they would 
kill me, but they shall not know. I am not going to show 
them my rag friend, for fear my rag friend will tell of 

Oh my 1 oh my 1 That made me worse than ever. I cried, 
so that one could have heard my poor heart beat. Oh, 
how I wished I was back with my father again 1 All the 
children were not afraid of the white people — only me. 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Pitites and Whites. 29 

My brothers would go everywhere with grandpa. I would 
not have been so afraid of them if I had not been told by 
my own father and grandmamma that the white people 
would kill little children and eat them. 

Everything was all right, and the next day we went on 
our journey, and after a whole day's journey we came 
within 21 mile of the town. The sun was almost down when 
grandpa stopped and said, — 

" Now, one and all, listen as you go on. You will hear 
, the water-house bell ring." 

So we did, and pretty soon we heard the prettiest noise 
we had ever heard in all our life-time. It became dark 
before we got to the town, but we could see something like 
stars away ahead of us. Oh, how I wished I had stai.d 
with my father in our own country. I cried out, saying, — 

" Oh, mother, I am so afraid. I cannot go to the white 
people. They are so much like the owls with their big 
white eyes. I cannot make friends with them." 

I kept crying until we came nearer the town, and camped 
for the night. My grandpa said to his men, — 

" Unsaddle your horses while I go and see my friend." 

He came back in a few moments, and said : — 

" Turn your horses into the corral, and now we will go to 
bed without making any fire." 

So we did, and I for one was glad. But although very 
tired I could not sleep, for grandpa kept telling us that 
at daybreak we would hear the water-house's whistle. 
The next morning my mother waked me, and I got up and 
looked round me. I found no one but mother. 

** Oh, where is sister, mother ? " 

"Oh, she has gone with the rest to see the water- 

" Mother, did you hear it whistle ? " 

" Yes, we all heard it, and it made such a fearful noise ! 

Digitized by 


30 Life Among the Piutes. 

The one that whistled has gone on. But another came in 
just like it, and made just such a noise. Your brother was 
here awhile ago. He said the water-house had many look- 
ing-glasses all round it, and when it came in it was so 
tired, it breathed so hard, it made us almost deaf." 

" Say, mother, let us go and see." 

But mother said, — 

** No, your brother said there were so many white people 
that one can hardly get along. We will wait until your 
grandpa comes, and hear what they all say. A'n*t you 
hungry, my child ? " 

I said, " Yes." 

"Your brother brought something that tastes like 

It was cake, and I ate so much it made me sick. 

I was sick all day and night, and the next day I had the 
chills. Oh, I was very, very sick ; my poor mother thought 
I would die. I heard her say to grandpa one day, — 

" The sugar-bread was poisoned which your white 
brother gave us to eat, and it has made my poor little girl 
so sick that I am afraid she will die." My poor mother 
and brothers and sisters were crying ; mother had me in 
her arms. My grandpa came and took me in his arms 
and said to me, — 

" Open your eyes, dear, and see your grandpa ! " I did 
as he told me, because I had not forgotten what mother 
had said to me, to do whatever he told me to do, and then 
he would love me. The reason I had not opened my eyes 
was because my head ached so badly that it hurt me so I 
shut them again. My poor mother cried the more, and 
all our people gathered around us and began to cry. My 
mother said to grandpa, — 

" Can there be anything done for her ? " 

"Dear daughter," he said, "I am sorry you have such 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 31 

bad hearts against my white brothers. I have eaten some 
sugar-bread, and so have you, and all the rest of us, and 
we did not get sick. Dear daughter, you should have 
blessed the strange food before you gave it to your child 
to eat ; maybe this is why she is sick." 

It is a law among us that all strange food is blessed 
before eaten, and also clothing of any kind that is given 
to us by any one, Indians or white people, must be blessed 
before worn. So all my people came together and prayed 
over me, but it was all in vain, I do not know how long 
I was sick, but very long. I was indeed poisoned, not by 
the bread I had eaten, but by poison oak. My face 
swelled so that I could not see for a long time, but I could 
hear everything. At last some one came that had a voice 
like an angel. I really thought it must be an angel, for I 
had been taught by my father that an angel comes to 
watch the sick one and take the soul to the spirit land. 
I kept thinking it must be so, and I learned words from 
the angel (as I thought it). I could not see, for my eyes 
were swollen shut. These were the words, "Poor little 
girl, it is too bad ! " It was said so often by the pretty 
sweet voice, I would say it over and over when I was 
suffering so badly, and would cry out, " Poor little girl, it 
is too bad ! " At last I began to get well, and I could h«ar 
my grandpa say the same words. 

Then I began to see a little, and the first thing I asked 
my mother, was, " What was the angel saying to me ? " 
Oh, how frightened my poor mother was ! She cried out, — 

" Oh, father, come here ! My little girl is talking to the 
angels, — she is dying." 

My sister and brothers ran to her, crying, and for the first 
time since I was sick I cried out, " Oh, don't, don't cry I I 
am getting well, — indeed I am. Stop crying, and give me 
something to eat. I was only asking you what the angel 
meant by saying * Poor litde girl, it is too bad ! ' " 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

32 ^ Life Among the Piutes, 

" Oh," says grandpa, " it is the good white woman ; I 
niean my white sister, who comes here to see you. She 
has made you well. She put some medicine on your face, 
and has made you see. Ain't you glad to see ? " 

" I said, " Can I see her now ? " 

" Yes, she will come pretty soon ; she comes every day 
to see you." 

Then my mother came with something for me to eat, but 
I said, "Wait, grandpa, tell me more about the good 

He said, " My dear child, she is truly an angel, and she 
has come every day to see you. You will love her, I 

" Dear grandpa,, will she come pretty soon ? I want to 
see her." 

Grandpa said, " I will go and get her. You won't be 
afraid, will you ? " 

So my grandpa went. I tried my best to eat, but I 
could not, it was so hard. 

My sister said, " They are coming." 

I said, " Mother, fix my eyes so I can see the angel. 
Has it wings, mother ? " 

Mother said, " You will see for yourself." 

Just then they came, and grandpa said, " Here she is." 
The first thing she did she put her beautiful white hand 
on my forehead. I looked at her; she was, indeed, a 
beautiful angel. She said the same words as before. I 
asked my grandpa what she was saying. Then he told me 
what she meant by it. I began to get well very fast, and 
this sweet angel came every day and brought me something 
nice to eat ; and oh, what pretty dresses she brought me. 
When she brought the dresses she talked to my grandpa 
a long time, and she cried, and after she went away he 
said to my mother, — 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 33 

" The dresses which my white sister gave my child were 
her dead child's clothes, so they should be burned." I 
began to cry, because I did not want them burned. He 
said to me, — 

" Do n't cry, my child ; you will get nicer ones than these 
if you learn to love my white sister." 

Of course the clothes were burned, and after I got well 
my grandpa took great delight in taking us all to see his 
white brothers and sisters, and I knew what he meant 
when he said " my little girls ; " I knew he meant me and 
sister, and he also would say " my little boys," when he 
was talking about my brothers. 

He would say, pointing to my brother, " my Natchez ; " * 
he always said this. So the white people called one of my 
brothers Natchez, and he has had that name to this day. 

So I came to love the white people. We left Stockton 
^d went on farther to a place called San Joaquin River. 
It took us only one day to go there. We only crossed 
that river at that time. 

One of my grandpa's friends was named Scott, and the 
other Bonsai. After we got there, his friend killed beef 
for him and his people. We stayed there some time. 
Then grandpa told us that he had taken charge of Mr. 
Scott's cattle and horses, and' he was going to take them 
all up to the mountains to take care of them for his 
brothers. He wanted my uncles and their families and 
my mother and her two sons and three daughters to stay 
where they were ; that is, he told his dear daughter that 
he wanted her two sons to take care of a few horses and 
cows that would be left. My mother began to cry, and 
said, — 

~" Oh, father, don't leave us here ! My children might 
get sick, and there would be no one to speak for us ; or 

' Natchez means boy. 

Digitized by 


34 Life Among the Piutes. 

something else might happen." He again said, " I don't 
think my brothers will do anything that is wrong to you 
and your children." Then my mother asked my grand- 
father if he would take my sister with him. My poor 
mother felt that her daughter was unsafe, for she was 
young and very good-looking. 

" I would like to take her along," he said, " but I want 
her to learn how to work and cook. Scott and Bonsai say 
they will take the very best care of you and the children. 
It is not as if I was going to leave you here really alone ; 
your brothers will be with you." So we staid. Two men 
owned the ferry, and they had a great deal of money. So 
my brothers took care of their horses and cows all winter, 
and they paid them well for their work. But, oh, what 
trouble we had for a while ! The men whom my grandpa 
called his brothers would come into our camp and ask my 
mother to give our sister to them* They would come in at 
night, and we would all scream and cry ; but that would 
not stop them. My sister, and mother, and my uncles all 
cried and said, " Oh, why did we come ? Oh, we shall 
surely all be killed some night." My uncles and brothers 
would not dare to say a word, for fear they would be shot 
down. So we used to go away every night after dark and 
hide, and come back to our camp every morning. One 
night we were getting ready to go, and there came ^v^ 
men. The fire was out ; we could see two men come into 
the tent and shut oif the postles outside. My uncles and 
my brothers made such a noise ! 1 don't know what hap- 
pened ; when I woke I asked my mother if they had killed 
my sister. She said, " We are all safe here. Don't cry." 

" Where are we, mother ? " 

" We are in a boarding*-house." 

" Are my uncles killed ? " 

" No, dear, they are all near here too. 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites, 35 

I said, " Sister, where are you ? I want to come to you." 

She said, " Come on." 

I laid down, but I could not sleep. I could hear my poor 
sister's heart beat. Early the next morning we got dp and 
went down stairs, for it was upstairs where we slept. 
There were a great many in the room. When we came 
down, my mother said, " We will go outside." 

My sister said, " There is no outlet to the house. We 
can't get out." 

Mother looked round and said, " No, we cannot get out." 
I as usual began to cry. My poor sister ! I ran to her, I 
saw tears in her eyes. I heard some one speak close to 
my mother. I looked round and saw Mr. Scott holding 
the door open. Mother said, " Children, come." 

He went out with us and pointed to our camp, and shook 
his head, and motioned to mother to go into a little house 
where they were cooking. He took my hand in his, and 
said the same words that I had learned, " Poor little girl." 
I could see by his looks that he pitied me, so I was not 
afraid of him. We went in and sat down on the floor. 
Oh, what pretty things met my eyes. I was looking all 
round the room, and I saw beautiful white cups, and every 
beautiful thing on something high and long, and around it 
some things that were red. 

I said to my sister, " Do you know what those are ? " for 
she had been to the house before with my brothers. She 
said, " That high thing is what they use when eating, and 
the white cups are what they drink hot water from, and the 
red things you see is what they sit upon when they are 
eating." There was one now near us, and I thought if I 
could sit upon it I should be so happy! I said to my 
mother, "Can I sit on that one?" She said, "No, they 
would whip you." I did not say any more, but sat looking 
at the beautiful red chair. By-and-by the white woman 

Digitized by 


36 Life Among the Piutes. 

went out, and I wished in my heart I could go and sit upon 
it while she was gone. Then she came in with her little 
child in her arms. As she came in she went right to the 
very chair I wanted to sit in so badly, and set her child in 
it. I looked up to my mother, and said, "Will she get a 
whipping ? " 

" No, dear, it belongs to her father." 

So I said no more. Pretty soon a man came in. She 
said something to him, and he went out, and in a little 
while they all came in and sat round that high thing, as I 
called it. That was the table. It was all very strange to 
me, and they were drinking the hot water as they ate. I 
thought it was indeed hot water. After they got through, 
they all went out again, but Mr. Scott staid and talked to 
the woman and the man a long time. Then the woman 
€xed five places and the men went 'out and brought in my 
brothers, and kept talking to them. My brother said, 
" Come and sit here, and you, sister, sit there." But as 
soon as I sat down in the beautiful chair I began to look 
at the pretty picture on the back of the chair. " Dear, sit 
nice and eat, or the white woman will whip you," my mother 
said. I was quiet, but did not eat much. I tasted the 
black hot water ; I did not like it. It was coffee that we 
called hot water. After we had done, brother said, 
" Mother, come outside ; I want to talk to you." So we all 
went out. Brother said, " Mother, Mr. Scott wants us all 
to stay here. He says you and sister are to wash dishes, 
and learn all kinds of work. We are to stay here all the 
time and sleep upstairs, and the white woman is going to 
teach my sister how to sew. I think, dear mother, we had 
better stay, because grandpa said so, and our father Scott 
will take good care of us. He is going up into the moun- 
tains to see how grandpa is getting along, and he says he 
will take my uncles with him." All the time brother was 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 37 

talking, my mother and sister were crying. I did not cry, 
for I wanted to stay so that I could sit in the beautiful red 
chairs. Mother said, — 

" Dear son, you know if we stay here sister will be taken 
from us by the bad white man. I would rather see her die 
than see her heart full of fear every night." 

" Yes, dear mother, we love our dear sister, and if you 
say so we will go to papa." 

" Yes, dear son, let us go and tell him what his white 
brothers are doing to us." 

" Then I will go and tell Mr. Scott we want to go to our 
papa." He was gone some time, and at last came back. 

" Mother," he says, " we can't go, — that is, brother and 
I must stay ; — but you and sister can go if you wish to." 

" Oh no, my dear <:hildren, how can I go and leave you 
Vere ? Oh, how can that bad man keep you from going ? 
Fou are not his children.* How dare he say you cannot 
go with your mother ? He is not your father ; he is noth- 
ing but a bad white man, and he dares to say you cannot 
go. Your own father did not say you should not come 
with me. Oh, had my dear husband said those words I 
would not have been here to-day, and see my dear children 
suffer from day to day. Oh, if your father only knew how 
his children were suffering, I know he would kill that white 
man who tried to take your sister. I cannot see for my 
life why my father calls them his white brothers. They 
are not people ; they have no thought, no mind, no love. 
They are beasts, or they would know I, a lone woman, 
am here with them. They tried to take my girl from me 
and abuse her before my eyes and yours too, and oh, you 
must go too." 

" Oh, mother, here he comes ! " ' 

My mother got up. She held out her two hands to him, 
and cried out, — 

Digitized by 


38 Life Among the Piutes. 

" Oh, good father, don't keep my children from me. If 
you have a heart in you, give them back to me. Let me 
take them to their good father, where they can be cared 

We all cried to see our poor mother pleading for us. 
Mother held on to him until he gave some signs of letting 
her sons go with her ; then he nodded his head, — they 
might go. My poor mother's crying was turned into joy, 
and we were all glad. The wagon was got ready, — we were 
to ride in it. Oh, how I jumped about because I was 
going to ride in it ! I ran up to sister, and said, — 

" Ain't you glad we are going to ride in that beautiful 
red house ? " I called it house. My sister said, — 

" Not I, dear sister, for I hate everything that belongs 
to the white dogs. I would rather walk all the way ; oh, I 
hate them so badly ! " 

When everything was got ready, we got into the red 
house, as we called the wagon. I soon got tired of riding 
in the red house and went to sleep. Nothing happened 
during the day, and after awhile mother told us not to say 
a word about why we left, for grandpa might get mad with 
us. So we got to our people, and grandpa ran out to meet 
us. We were all glad to see him. The white man staid 
all night, and went home the next day. After he left us 
my grandpa called my brothers to him. 

" Now, my dear little boys, I have something to tell you 
that will make you happy. Our good father (he did not 
say my white brother, but he said our good father) has left 
something with me to give you, and he also told me that 
he had given you some money for your work. He says 
you are all good boys, and he likes you very much ; and he 
told me to give you three horses apiece, which makes 
six in all, and he wants you and your brother to go back 
and to go on with the same work, and he will pay you well 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 39 

for it. He is to come back in three days ; then if you want 
to go with him you can." 

Brother said, " Will mother and sisters go too ? " 

" No, thfey will stay with me." My brothers were so 
happy over their horses. 

Now, my dear reader, there is no word so endearing as 
the word father, and that is why we call all good people 
father or mother; no matter who it is, — negro, white 
man, or Indian, and the same with the women. Grandpa 
talked to my mother a long time, but I did not hear what 
he said to her, as I went off to play with the other chil- 
dren. But the first thing I knew the white man came and 
staid four days. Then all the horses were got up, and he 
saw them all, and the cattle also. I could see my poor 
mother and sister crying now and then, but I did not know 
what for. So one morning the man was going away, and 
I saw mother getting my brothers' horses ready too. I ran 
to my mpther, and said, "Mother, what makes you cry 
so ? " Grandpa was talking to her. He said, " They will 
not be hurt ; they will have quite a number of horses by the 
time we are ready to go back to our home again." 

nknew then that my "brothers were going back with 
this man. Oh, then I began to cry, and said everything 
that was bad to them. I threw myself down upon the 

" Oh, brothers, I will never see them any more. They 
will kill them, I know. Oh, you naughty, naughty grandpa, 
you want my poor brothers to be killed by the bad men. 
You don't know what they do to us. Oh, mother, run, — 
bring them back again ! "• 

Oh, how we missed our brothers for a long time. We 
did not see them for a long time, but the men came now 
and then. They never brought my brothers with them. 
After they went away, grandpa would come in with his rag 

Digitized by 


40 Life' Among the Piutes. 

friend in hand and say to mother, " My friend here says 
my boys are all right, not sick.'*- 

My mother said, " Father, why can you not have them 
come and see us sometimes ? '* 

" Dear daughter, we will get ready to go home. It is 
time now that the snow is off the mountains. In ten days 
more we will go, and we will get the children as we go 

Oh, how happy everybody was ! Everybody was sing- 
ing here and there, getting beautiful dresses made, and 
before we started we had a thanksgiving dance. The day 
we were to start we partook of the first gathering of food 
for that summer. So that morning everybody prayed, and 
sang songs, and danced, and ate before starting. It was 
all so nice, and everybody was so happy because they were 
going to see their dear country and the dear ones at home. 
Grandpa took all the horses belonging to the white men.. 
After we got home the horses were put into the corral for 
all night, and the two white men counted their horses the 
next morning. They gave my grandpa eight horses for 
his work, and two or three horses each to some of the 
people. To my two brothers they gave sixteen horses 
and some money, and after we all got our horses, grandpa 
said to his people, — 

" Now, my children, you see that what I have told you 
about my white brothers is true. You see we have not 
worked very much, and they have given us all horses. 
Don't you see they are good people ? " 

All that time, neither my uncles nor my mother had told 
what the white men did while we were left all alone. 

So the day was set for starting. It was to be in five 
days. We had been there three days when we saw the very 
men who were so bad to us. Yes, they were talking to 
grandpa. Mother said to sister, — 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites, 41 

" They are talking about us. You see they are looking 
this way." 

Sister said, " Oh, mother, I hope grandpa will not do 
such a wicked thing as to give me to those bad men." 

Oh, how my heart beat ! I saw grandpa shake his head, 
and he looked mad with them. He came away and left 
them standing there. From that day my grandma took 
my sister under her care, and we got along nicely. 

Then we started for our home, and after travelling some 
time we arrived at the head of Carson River. There we 
met some of our people, and they told us some very bad 
news, indeed, which made us all cry. They said almost all 
the tribe had died oif, and if one of a family got sick 
it was a sure thing that the whole family would die. He 
said the white men had poisoned the Humboldt River, 
and our people had drank the water and died off. Grandpa 
said, — 

" Is my son dead ? " 

"No, he has been in the mountains all the time, and all 
who have been there are all right." 

The men said a great many of our relations had died 

We staid there all night, and the next day our hair was 
all cut off. My sister and my mother had such beautiful 

So grandpa said to the man, — 

" Go and tell our people we are coming. Send them to 
each other, and tell my son to come to meet us." 

So we went on our jouFney, and after travelling three 
days more we came to a place called Genoa, on the west side 
of Carson River, at the very place where I had first seen a 
white man. A saw-mill and a grist-mill were there, and 
five more houses. We camped in the very same place 
where we -did before. We staid there a long time waiting 

Digitized by 


42 Life Among the Piutes. 

for my father to come to meet us. At last my cousin rode 
into our camp one evening, and said my father was coming 
with many of his people. We heard them as they came 
nearer and nearer ; they were all crying, and then we cried 
too, and as they got off their horses they fell into each 
other's arms, like so many little children, and cried as if 
Aeir hearts would break, and told what they had suffered 
since we went away, and how our people had died off. As 
soon as one would get sick he would drink water and die 
right off. Every one of them was in mourning also, and 
they talked over the sad things which had happened to 
them during the time we were away. One and all said that 
the river must have been poisoned by the white people, 
because that they had prayed, and our spirit-doctors had 
tried to cure the sick ; they too died while they were trying 
to cure them. After they had told grandpa all, he got 
angry and said, — 

" My dear children, I am heartily sorry to hear your sad 
story ; but I cannot and will not believe my white brothers 
would do. such a thing. Oh, my dear children, do not think 
so badly of our white fathers, for if they had poisoned the 
river, why, my dear children, they too would have died 
when they drank of the water. It is this, my dear chil- 
dren, it must be some fearful disease or sickness unknown 
to us, and therefore, my dear children, don't blame our 
brothers. The whole tribe have called me their father, and 
I have loved you all as my dear children, and those who 
have died are happy in the Spirit-land, though we mourn 
their loss here on earth. I know my grandchildren and 
daughters and brothers are in that happy bright Spirit- 
land, and I shall soon see them there. Some of you may 
live a long time yet, and don't let your hearts work against 
your white fathers ; if you do, you will not get along. You 
see they are already here in our land ; here they are all 

Digitized by 


First Meeting of Piutes and Whites. 43 

along the river, and we must let our brothers live with us. 
We cannot tell them to go away. I know your good hearts. 
I know you won't say kill them. Surely you all know that 
they are human. Their lives are just as dear to them as 
ours to us. It is a very sad thing indeed to have to lose 
so many of our dear ones ; but maybe it was to be. We 
can do nothing but mourn for their loss." He went on to 

"My dear children, you all know the tradition says: 

* Weep not for your dead ; but sing and be joyful, for the 

soul is happy in the Spirit -land.' But it is natural for man 

or woman to weep, because it relieves our hearts* to weep 

' together, and we all feel better afterwards." 

Every one hung their heads while grandpa talked on. 
Now and then one could hear some of them cry out, just 
as the Methodists cry out at their meetings ; and grandpa 
said a great many beautiful things to his people. He 
talked so long, I for one wished he would* stop, so I could 
go and throw myself into my father's arms, and tell him 
what the white people were. At last he stopped, and we 
all ran to our father and threw our arms around his neck, 
and cried for joy ; and then mother came with little sister. 
Papa took her in his arms, and mother put her hand in his 
bosom, and we all wept together, because mother had lost 
two sisters, and their husbands, and all their children but 
one girl ; and thus passed away the day. Grandpa had 
gone off during our meeting with father, and prayer was 
offered, and every one washed their face, and were waiting 
for something else. Pretty soon grandpa came, and said: 
"This is my friend," holding up his paper in his hand. 
" Does it look as if it could talk and ask for anything ? 
Yet it does. It can ask for something to eat for me and 
my people. Yet, it is nothing but a rag. Oh, wonderful 
thingssny white brothers can do. I have taken it down 

Digitized by 



44 Life Among the Piutes, 

to them, and it has asked for sacks of flour for us to eat. 
Come, we will go and get them." So the men went 
down and got the flour. Grandpa took his son down to 
see the white men, and by-and-by we saw them, coming 
back. They had given ray father a red blanket and a red 

Digitized by 




Our children are very carefully taught to be good. Their 
parents tell them stories, traditions of old times, even of 
the first mother of the human race ; and love stories, sto- 
ries of giants, and fables ; and when they ask if these last 
stories are true, they answer, "Oh, it is only coyote," 
which means that they are make-believe stories. Coy- 
ote is the name of a mean, crafty little animal, half 
wolf, half dog, and stands for everything low. It is the 
greatest term of reproach one Indian has for another. In- 
dians do not swear, — they have no words for swearing till 
they learn them of white men. The worst they call each 
is bad or coyote; but they are very sincere with one 
another, and if they think each other in the wrong they say - 

We are taught to love everybody. We don't need to be 
taught to love our fathers and mothers. We love them 
without being told to. Our tenth cousin is as near to us as 
our first cousin ; and we don't marry into our relations. 
Our young women are not allowed to talk to any young 
man that is not their cousin, except at the festive dances, 
when both are dressed in their best clothes, adorned with 
beadsy feathers or shells, and stand alternately in the ring 


Digitized by 


46 Life Among the Piutes. 

and take hold of hands. These are very pleasant occa- 
sions to all the young people. 

Many years ago, when my people were happier than they 
are now, they used to celebrate the Festival of Flowers in 
the spring. I have been to three of them only ;n the 
course of my life. 

Oh, with what eagerness we girls used to watch every 
spring for the time when we could meet with our hearts' de- 
light, the young men, whom in civilized life you call beaux. 
We would all go in company to see if the flowers we were 
named for were yet in bloom,* for almost all the girls are 
named for flowers. We talked about them in our wigwams, 
as if we were the flowers, saying, " Oh, I saw myself to- 
day in full bloom ! " We would talk all the evening in this 
way in our families with such delight, and such beautiful 
thoughts of the happy day when we should meet with those 
who admired us and would help us to sing our fiower-songs 
which we made up as we sang. But we were always sorry 
for those that were not named after some flower, because 
we knew they could not join in the flower-songs like our- 
selves, who were named for flowers of all kinds.^ 

At last one evening came a beautiful voice, which made 
every girl's heart throb with happiness. It was the chief, 
and every one hushed to hear what he said to-day. 

" My dear daughters, we are told that you have seen your- 
selves in the hills and in the valleys, in full bloom. Five 
days from to-day your festival day will come. I know 
every young man's heart stops beating while I am talking. 
I know how it was with me many years ago. I used to 

1 Indian children are named from some passing circumstance ; as, for in- 
stance, one of Mrs. Hopkins* brothers was named Black-eye, because when a 
very small child, sitting in a sister's lap, who had beautiful black eyes, he said, 
" What beautiful black eyes you have ! " If they observed the flight of a bird, 
or an animal, in short, anything striking that became associated with them, 
that would be their appellation. — Ed. 

Digitized by 


Domestic and Social Moralities. 47 

wish the Flower Festival would come . every day.' Dear 
young men and young women, you are saying, * Why put it 
off five days ? ' But you all know that is our rule. It 
gives you time to think, and to show your sweetheart your 

All the girls who have flower-names dance along to- 
gether, and those who have not go together also. Our 
fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers 
make a place for us where we can dance. Each one 
gathers the flower she is named for, and then all weave 
them into wreaths and crowns and scarfs, and dress up in 

Some girls are named for rocks and are called rock-girls, 
and they find some pretty rocks which they carry; each one 
such a rock as she is named for, or whatever she is named 
for. ' If she cannot, she can take a branch of sage-brush, 
or a bunch of Vye-grass, which have no flower. 

They all go marching along, each girl in turn singing of 
herself ; but she is not a girl any more, — she is a flower 
singing. She sings of herself, and her sweetheart, dancing 
along by her side,~helps her sing the song she makes. 

I will repeat what we say of ourselves. " I, Sarah Win- 
nemucca, am a shell-flower, such as I wear on my dress. 
My name is Thocmetony. I am so beautiful ! Who will 
come and dance with me while I am so beautiful ? Oh, 
come and be happy with me ! I shall be beautiful while 
the earth lasts. Somebody will always admire me ; and 
who will come and be happy with me in the Spirit-land ? I 
shall be beautiful forever there. Yes, I shall be more beau- 
tiful than my shell-flower, my Thocmetony ! Then, come, 
oh come, and dance and be happy with me ! " The young 
men sing with us as they dance beside us. 

Our parents are waiting for us somewhere to welcome us 
home. And then we praise the sage-brush and the rye- 

Digitized by 



48 Life Among the Piutes* 

grass that have no flower, and the pretty rocks that some 
are named for ; and then we present our beautiful flowers 
to these companions who could carry none. And so all are 
happy ; and that closes the beautiful day. 

My people have been so unhappy for a long time they 
wish now to disincrease^ instead of multiply. The mothers 
are afraid to have more children, for fear they shall have 
daughters, who are not safe even in their mother's pres- 

The grandmothers have the special care of the daugh- 
ters just before and after they come to womanhood. The 
girls are not allowed to get married until they have come 
to womanhood ; and that period is recognized as a very 
sacred thing, and is the subject of a festival, and has pecu- 
liar customs. The young woman is set apart under the 
care of two of her friends, somewhat older, and a little 
wigwam, called a teepee, just big enough for the three, is 
made for them, to which they retire. She goes through 
certain labors which are thought to be strengthening, and 
these last twenty-five days. Every day, three times a day, 
she must gather, and pile up as high as she can, five stacks 
of wood. This makes fifteen stacks a day. At the end of 
every five days the attendants take her to a river to bathe. 
She fasts from all flesh-meat during these twenty-five days, 
and continues to do this for five days in every month all 
her life. At the end of the twenty-five days she returns to 
the family lodge, and gives all her clothing to her attend- 
ants in payment for their care. Sometimes the wardrobe is 
quite extensive. 

It is thus publicly known that there is another marriage- 
able woman, and any young man interested in her, or wishing 
to form an alliance, comes forward. But the courting is 
very different from the courting of the white people. He 
never speaks to her, or visits the family, but endeavors to 

Digitized by 


Domestic and Social Moralities. 49 

attract her attention by showing his horsemanship, etc. 
As he knows that she sleeps next to her grandmother in 
the lodge, he enters in full dress after the family has re- 
tired for the night, and seats himself at her feet. If she is 
not awake, her grandmother wakes her. He does not 
speak to either young woman or grandmother, but when 
the young woman wishes him to go away, she rises and 
goes and lies down by the side of her mother. He then 
leaves as silently as he came in. This goes on sometimes 
for a year or longer, if the young woman has not made up 
her mind. She is never forced by her parents to marry 
against her wishes. When she knows her own mind, she 
makes a confidant of her grandmother, and then the young 
man is summoned by the father of the girl, who asks him 
in her presence, if he really loves his daughter, and re- 
minds him, if he says he does, of all the duties of a hus- 
band. He then asks his daughter the same question, and 
sets before her minutely all her duties. And these duties 
are not slight. She is to dress the game, prepare the food, 
clean the buckskins, make his moccasins, dress his hair, 
bring all the wood, — in short, do all the household work. 
She promises to " be himself," and she fulfils her promise. 
Then he is invited to a feast and all his relatives with him. 
But after the betrothal, a teepee is erected for the presents 
that pour in from both sides. 

At the wedding feast, all the food is prepared in baskets. 
The young woman sits by the young man, and hands him 
the basket of food prepared for him with her own hands. 
He does not take it with his right hand ; but seizes her 
wrist, and takes it with the left hand. This constitutes the 
marriage ceremony, and the father pronounces them man 
and wife. They go to a wigwam of their own, where they 
live till the first child is bom. This event also is cele- 
brated. Both father and mother fast from all flesh, and 

Digitized by 


50 Life Among the Piutes. 

the father goes through the labor of piling the wood fo> 
twenty-five days, and assumes all his wife's household work 
during that time. If he does not do his part in the care 
of the child, he is considered an outcast. Every ^v^ days 
his child's basket is changed for a new one, and the five 
are all carefully put away at the end of the days, the last 
one containing the navel-string, carefully wrapped up, and 
all are put up into a tree, and the child put into a new and 
ornamented basket. All this respect shown to the mother 
and child makes the parents feel their responsibility, and 
makes the tie between parents and children very strong. 
The young mothers often get together and exchange their 
experiences about the attentions of their husbands; and 
inquire of each other if the fathers did their duty to their 
children, and were careful of their wives' health. When 
they are married they give away all the clothing they have 
ever worn,, and dress themselves anew. The poor people 
have the same ceremonies, but do not make a feast of it, 
for want of means. 

Our boys are introduced to manhood by their hunting of 
deer and mountain-sheep. Before they are fifteen or six- 
teen, they hunt only small game, like rabbits, hares, fowls, 
etc. They never eat what they kill themselves, but only 
what their father or elder brothers kill. When a boy be- 
comes strong enough to use larger bows made of sinew, 
and arrows that are ornamented with eagle-feathers, for 
the first time, he kills game that is large, a deer or an ante- 
lope, or a mountain-sheep. Then he brings home t)ie hide, 
and his father cuts it into a long coil which is wound into a 
loop, and the boy takes his quiver and throws it on his 
back as if he was going on a hunt, and takes his bow and 
arrows in his hand. Then his father throws the loop over 
him, and he jumps through it. This he does five times. 
Now for the first time he eats the flesh of the animal he 

Digitized by 


Domestic and Social Moralities. 5 1 

has killed, and from that time h6 eats whatever he kills 
but he has always been faithful to his parents' command 
not to eat what he has killed before. He can now do 
whatever he likes, for now he is a man, and no longer 
considered a boy. If there is a war he can go to it ; but 
the Piutes, and other tribes west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, are not fond of going to war. I never saw a war- 
^ance but once. It is always the whites that begin the 
wars, for their own selfish purposes. The government 
does not take care to send the good men ; there are a 
plenty who would take pains to see and understand the 
chiefs and learn their characters, and their good will to 
the whites. But the whites have not waited to find out 
how good the Indians were, and what ideas they had of 
Godj just like those of Jesus, who called him Father, just 
as my people do, and told men to do to others as they 
would be done by, just as my people teach their children 
to do. My people teach their children never to make fun of 
any one, no matter how they look. If you see your brother 
or sister doing something wrong, look away, or go away 
from them. If you make fun of bad persons, you make 
yourself beneath them. Be kind to all, both poor and rich, 
and feed all that come to your wigwam, and your name 
can be spoken of by every one far and near. In this way 
you will make many friends for yourself. Be kind both to 
bad and good, for you don't know your own heart. This 
is the way my people teach their children. It was handed 
down from father to son for many generations. I never in 
my life saw our children rude as I have seen white chil- 
dren and grown people in the streets.* 

1 In one of her lectures, Mrs. Hopkins spoke of other refinements and man- 
ners that the Indian mother teaches her children ; and it is worthy the imita- 
tion of the whites. Such manners in the children account for their behavior 
to each other in manhood, their self-respect, and respect for each other. The 

Digitized by 


52 Life Among the Piutes. 

The chief's tent is the largest tent, and it is the council- 
tent, where every one goes who wants advice. In the even- 
ings the head men go there to discuss everything, for the 
chiefs do not rule like tyrants; they discuss everything 
with theit people, as a father would in his family. Often 
they sit up all night. They discuss the doings of all, if 
they need to be advised. If a boy is not doing well they 
talk that over, and if the women are interested they can 
share in the talks. If there is not room enough inside, 

Indian children really get education in heart and mind, such as we aie begin- 
ning to give now to ours for the first time. They are taught a great 
deal about nature; how to observe the habits of plants and animals. It is 
not jinlikely that when something like a human conununication is established 
between the Indians and whites, it may prove a fair exchange, and the knowl- 
edge of nature which has accumulated, for we know not how long, may en- 
rich our early education as much as reading and writing will enrich theirs. 
The fact that the Indian children are not taught English, makes the provision 
for education made by our government nugatory. Salaries are paid teachers 
year after year, who sit in the school-rooms (as Mrs. Hopkins says) and read 
dime novels, and the children play round, and learn nothing from them, except 
some few hymns by rote^ which when visitors come they sing, without under- 
standing one word of it. It is not for the advantage of the.agents to civilize 
and teach the Indians. And by means of necessary interpreters there is con- 
stant mutual misunderstanding. Indians are made to sign papers that have 
very different contents from what they are told The late William B. Ogden, 
of Chicago, who has always maintained that the Indians ought to have citizens' 
rights, and be represented in Congress, founding his opinion on his life-long 
knowledge of the high-toned morality of Indians who wore blankets, said to 
my sister in 1853, that it was the stereotyped lie of the fur-traders (whose in- 
terest it was) that they could not be civilized ; and the late Lewis Cass was 
their- attorney, writing in the North American Review about it, for his fortune 
came largely through* the fur-interests. We know from H. H.'s " Century of 
Dishonor," that from the beginning the Christian bigots who peopled America 
looked upon the Indians as heathen, to be dealt with as Moses commanded 
Joshua to deal with the heathen of Syria, who ** passed their children through 
the fire to Moloch," and the services of whose temples were as licentious as 
they were cruel. Thus Christendom missed the moral reformation it might 
have had, if they had become acquainted with the noble Five Nations, and 
others whom they have exterminated. But, " it is never too late to mend," aS| 
at last, the country is beginning to see. The Editor. 

Digitized by 


Domestic and Social Moralities. 53 

they all go out of doors, and make a great circle. The 
men are in the inner circle, for there would be too much 
smoke for the women inside. The men never talk with- 
out smoking first. The women sit behind them in another 
circle, and if the children wish to hear, they can be there 
too. The women know as much as the men do, and their 
advice is often asked. We have a republic as well as you. 
The council-tent is our Congress, and anybody can speak 
who has anything to say, women and all. They are always 
interested in what their husbands are doing and thinking 
about. And they take some part even in the wars. They 
are always near at hand when fi-ghting is going on, ready 
to snatch their husbands up and carry them off if wounded 
or killed. One splendid woman that my brother Lee mar- 
ried after his first wife died, went put into the battle-field 
after her uncle was killed, and went into the front ranks 
and cheered the men on. Her uncle's horse was dressed 
in a splendid robe made of eagles' feathers and she snatched 
it off and swung it in the face of the enemy, who always 
carry off everything they find, as much as to say, " You 
can't have that — I have it safe " ; and she staid and took 
her uncle's place, as brave as any of the men. It means 
something when the women promise their fathers to make . 
their husbands themselves. They faithfully keep with them 
?n all the dangers they can share. They not only take 
care of their children together, but they do everything to- 
gether ; and when they grow blind, which 1 am sorry to say 
is very common, for the smoke they live in destroys theii 
eyes at last, they take sweet care of one another. Mar 
riage is a sweet thing when people love each other. If 
women could go into your Congress I think justice would 
soon be done to the Indians. I can 't tell about all 
Indians ; but I know my own people are kind to everybody 
that does not do them harm ; but they will not be imposed 

Digitized by 


54 Life Among the Piutes. 

upon, and when people are too bad they rise up and resist 
them. This seems to me all right. It is different from 
being revengeful. There is nothing cruel about our peo- 
ple. They never scalped a human being. 

The chiefs do not live in idleness. They work with their 
people, and they are always poor for the following reason. 
It is the custom with my people to be very hospitable. 
When people visit them in their tents, they always set be- 
fore them the best food they have, and if there is not 
enough for themselves they go without 

The chiefs tent is the one always looked for when visitors 
come, and sometimes many come the same day. But they 
are all well received. I have often felt soriy for my 
brother, who is now the chief, when I saw him go without 
food for this reason. He would say, " We will wait and 
eat afterwards what is left." • Perhaps little would be left, 
and when the agents did not give supplies and rations, he 
would have to go hungry. 

At the council, one is always appointed to repeat at the 
time everything that is said on bodi sides, so that there 
may be no misunderstanding, and one person at least is 
present from every lodge, and after it is over, he goes and 
repeats what is decided upon at the door of the lodge, so 
all may be understood. For there is never any quarrelling 
in the tribe, only friendly counsels. The sub-chiefs are ap- 
pointed by the great chief for special duties. There is no 
quarrelling about that, for neither sub-chief or great chief 
has any salary. It* is this which makes the tribe so united 
and attached to each other, and makes it so dreadful to be 
parted. They would rather all die at once than be parted. 
They believe that in the Spirit-land those that die still 
watch over those that are living. When I was a child in 
California, I heard the Methodist minister say that every- 
body that did wrong was burned in hell forever. I was so 


Digitized by 


Domestic and Social Moralities. 55 

frightened it made me very sick. He said the blessed ones 
in heaven looked down and saw their friends burning and 
could not help them. I wanted to be unborn, and cried 
so that my mother and the others told me it was not so, 
that it was only here that people did wrong and were in 
the hell that it made, and that those that were in the Spirit-, 
land saw us here and were sorry for us. But we should go 
to them when we died, where there was never any wrong- 
doing, and so no hell. That is our religion. 

My people capture antelopes by charming them, but 
only some of the people are charmers. My father was one 
of them, and once I went with him on an antelope hunt. 

The antelopes move in herds in the winter, and as late 
in the spring as April. At this time there was said to be 
a large herd in a certain place, and my father told all his 
people to come together in ten days to go with him in his 
. hunt. He told them to bring their wives with them, but 
no small children. When they came, at the end of ten 
days, he chose two men, who he said were to be his mes- 
sengers to the antelopes. They were to have two large 
torches made of sage-brush bark, and after he had found a 
place for his camp, he marked out a circle around which 
the wigwams were to be placed, putting his own in the 
middle of the western side, and leaving an opening directly 
opposite in the middle of the eastern side, which was to- 
wards the antelopes. 

The people who were with him in the camp then made 
another circle to the east of the one where their wigwams 
were, and made six mounds of sage-brush and stones on 
the sides of it, with a space of a hundred yards or more 
from one mound to the next one, but with no ience 
between the mounds. These mounds were made high, so 
that they could be seen from far off. 

The women and boys and old men who were in the 

Digitized by 


56 Life Among the Piutes, 

camp, and who were working on the mounds, were told to 
be very careful not to drop anything and not to stumble 
over a sage-brush root, or a stone, or anything, and not to 
have any accident, but to do everything perfectly and to 
keep thinking about the antelopes all the time, and not to 
let their thoughts go away to anything else. It took five 
days to charm the antelopes, and if anybody had an acci- 
dent he must tell of it. 

Every morning early, when the bright morning star 
could be seen, the people sat around the opening to the 
circle, with my father sitting in the middle of the opening, 
and my father lighted his pipe and passed ft to his right, 
and the pipe went round the circle five times. And at 
night they did the same thing. 

After they had smoked the pipe, my father took a kind of 
drum, which is used in this charming, and made music with 
it. This is the only kind of musical instrument which my 
people have, and it is only used for this antelope-charming. 
It is made of a hide of some large animal, stuffed with 
grass, so as to make it sound hollow, and then wound 
around tightly from one end to the other with a cord as 
large as my finger. One end of this instrument is large, 
and it tapers down to the other end, which is small, so that 
it makes a different sound on the different parts. My 
father took a stick and rubbed this stick from one end of 
the instrument to the other, making a penetrating, vibrating 
sou«d, that could be heard afar off, and he sang, and all 
his people sang with him. 

After that the two men who were messengers went out 
to see the antelopes. They carried their torches in their 
right hands, and one of them can ied a pipe in his'left hand. 
They started from my father*s wigwam and went straight 
across the camp to the opening ; then they crossed, and 
one went around the second circle to the right and thq 

Digitized by 


Domestic mid Social Moralities, 57 

other went to the left, till they met on the other side of the 
circle. Then they crossed again, and one went round the 
herd of antelopes one way and the other went round the 
other way, but they did not let the antelopes see them. 
When they met on the other side of the herd of antelopes, 
they stopped and smoked the pipe, and then they crossed, 
and each man came back on the track of the other to the 
camp, and told my father what they saw and what the 
antelopes were doing. 

This was done every day for five days, and after the first 
day all the men and women and boys followed the mes- 
sengers, and went around the circle they were to enter. 
On the fifth day the antelopes were charmed, and the 
whole herd followed the tracks of my people and entered 
the circle where the mounds were, coming in at the 
entrance, bowing and tossing their heads, and looking 
sleepy and under a powerful spell. They ran round and 
round inside the circle just as if there was a fence all 
around it and they could not get out, and they staid there 
until my people had killed every one. But if anybody had 
dropped anything, or had stumbled and had not told about 
it, then when the antelopes came to the place where he 
had done that, they threw off the spell and rushed wildly 
out of the circle at that place. 

My brother can charm horses in the same way. 

The Indian children amuse themselves a great deal by 
modelling in mud. They make herds of animals, which 
are modelled exceedingly well, and after setting them up, 
shoot at them with their little bows and arrows. They 
also string beads of different colors and show natural good 

Digitized by 




I WILL now Stop writing about myself and family and 
tribe customs, and tell about the wars, and the causes of 
the wars. I will jump over about six years. My sister and 
I were living at this time in Genoa with Major Ormsbey's 
family, who took us as playmates for their little girl. While 
with them we learned the English language very fast, for 
chey were very kind to us. This was in the year 1858, I 
think ; I am not sure. In that year our white brothers had 
their houses all along Carson River. There were twenty- 
one houses there in our country. I know all the names of 
the people that lived in them. One man who was on the 
upper part of Carson River was Mr. Olds ; the next man by 
the name of Palmer had a family. The third one, by the 
name of Job, also had a family. Another family was named 
Walters ; another man, whose name was Dr. Daggett, had 
no family ; nor had the next one, whose name was Van 
Sickle. The next one had more than one family ; he had 
two wives, and his name was Thornton. The man who 
lived in the next house had still more wives. There were 
two brothers; one had three wives, and the other five. 
Their name was Reuse. The next man was named Nott, 
and had no family. The next house had three brothers, 

Digitized by 


Wars and tJteir Causes. 59 

named Sides, with no families. The next ^as named 
Gilbert, and had no family. The next was named Alridge, 
and had a family. Then came our friend. Major Ormsbey. 
Next came Adams and brothers, who had no wives. Then 
Jones and family, Miller and family; Brown, with no 
family ; Elsey, with no family ; Mr. Ellis and family ; Wil- 
liams brothers, no family ; Mr. Cole and family ; Mr. Black 
and family at Humboldt Lake. All these white people were 
loved by my people ; we lived there together, and were as. 
happy as could be. There was no stealing, no one lost 
their cattle or horses ; my people had not learned to steal. 
We lived that way in peace for another year; our white 
brothers gave my people guns for their horses in the way 
of trading ; yet my people never said, " We want you to give 
us something for our land." Now, there were a great many 
of our white brothers everywhere through our country, and 
mines or farms here and there. The Mormons came in a 
great many wafons and settled down in Carson Valley, 
where now stands the great Carson City, as it is called. 
The following .year, 1859, we were yet living with Major 
Ormsbey, and mother and father were down at Pyramid 
Lake with all our people, so sister and I were all alone 
there with our dear good friend, Major Ormsbey. 

Late that fall there happened a very sad thing, indeed. 
A white man who was dearly beloved by my people started 
for California to get provisions for the winter, as they all 
did every winter. Mr. McMullen took a great deal of 
money to lay in large supplies, for they had a store about 
thirty miles down Carson River. Two of them, MacWil- 
liams and McMullen, went off the same night, and camped 
in the mountains. Some one came in the night and killed 
them both, and after they had shot' them with guns or 
pistols, they placed arrows in the wounds to make it appear 
as if Indians had killed them. The next day news came in 

Digitized by 


6o Life Among the Piutes. 

that Indians had killed John McMullen. They were asked 
how they knew that Indians had killed him, and they 
answered, — 

" We know, because it was done with arrows." 
. That same afternoon thirty men went to %(t\. the dead 
bodies of the two men. They brought them in, and the 
arrows too. Of course everybody said it was the Indians 
that killed them. My brother, Natchez, and our cousin, 
who was called young Winnemucca, and one hundred 
others were sent for. In two days' time they came. My 
brother was then peace-chief. Major Ormsbey asked if he 
knew what tribe of Indians those arrows belonged to. My 
cousin told his white brothers the arrows belonged to the 
Washoes. So our good father Major Ormsbey said to my 
.brother, — 

" Will you help us to get the Washoe chief to come in 
and give up the men who killed the two white men ? " My 
brothers said they would help to find the men that killed 
poor John McMullen. So that evening my people had 
what they call a war-dance, the first one I had ever seen. 
A great many white men and women came to see them, and 
Lizzie Ormsbey kept saying, " Where is Natchez ? " He 
was dressed up so we did not know him. The white people 
staid until it was all over, and when it was all over the Major 
called his men and said, — 

" We will sing the Star-spangled Banner." 

It was not a bit like the way my grandfather used to sing 
it, and that was the first time I had heard it sung by the 
white people. 

My cousin was the war-chief. He sent five men to bring 
in the Washoe chief. The next morning they came in with 
about ten Washoes. As soon as they came in the white 
men gathered round them. Major Orrnsbey showed the 
arrows, and asked them if they knew them. The Washoe 

Digitized by 


Wars and their Causes. 6i 

chief, who is called Jam, said, " You ask me if these are my 
people's arrows. I say yes." Major Omisbey said, — 

** That is enough." He said to my brother Natchez, — 

" Tell Captain Jam that his people have killed two men, 
and he must bring the men and all the money, and they 
shall not be hurt, and all will be right." The Washoe chief 
said, — 

"I know my people have not killed the men, because 
none of my men have been away ; we are all at Pine-nut 
Valley, and I do not know what to think of the sad thing 
that has happened." 

"But here are your arrows, and you cannot say any- 
thing," said my cousin, the war-chief. " We will give you 
ten days to bring the men who killed our two white 
brothers, and if you do not we shall have to fight you, for 
they have been so kind to us all. Who could have the 
heart to kill them ? Now go and bring in the men." 

Poor, poor Washoes, they went away with very sad hearts. 
After they left brother talked with all his men, and asked 
them what they thought about it. They all said it was very 
strange, indeed ; time would tell whether they killed them 
or not. Six days after, the Washoe chief came in with 
three prisoners. One of the prisoners had a wife, the other 
two had none, but their mothers came with them. The 
white men gathered round them and put handcuffs on 
them to lock them up in a small house for the night. 
Next morning all the white people came to see them. 
Some said, " Hang the red devils right off," and the white 
boys threw stones at them, and used most shameful lan- 
guage to them. At about three o'clock in the afternoon 
came thirty-one white men, all with guns on their shoulders, 
and as they marched along my brother and cousin ran to 
meet them. One Washoe woman began to scream, " Oh, 
they have come to kill them 1 " How they did cry ! One 

Digitized by 


62 Life Among the Piutes. 

could hear the poor things miles away. My brother went 
to them and told them not to cry. 

" Oh, dear chieftain, they did not kill the white men, — 
indeed they did not. They have not been away from our 
camp for over a month. None of our men were away, and 
our chief has given these three young men because they 
have no fathers." One of the young girls said, — 

"You who are the mighty chieftain, save my poor 
brother, for he is all mother and I have to hunt for us. 
Oh, believe us. He is as innocent as you are. Oh, tell 
■your white brothers that what we tell you is true as the 
sun rises and sets ; " and one woman ran to my cousin, the 
war-chief, and threw herself down at his feet and cried out, 
" Oh, you are going to have my poor husband killed. We 
were married this winter, and I have been with him con- 
stantly since we were married. Oh, Good Spirit, come ! 
Oh, come into the hearts of this people. Oh, whisper in 
their hearts that they may not kill my poor husband ! Oh, 
good chief, talk for him. Our cruel chief has given my 
husband to you because he is afraid that all of us will be 
killed by you," and she raised up her head and said to the 
Washoe chief, " You have given my innocent blood to save 
your people." Then my brother said to the Washoes, 
" These white men have come to take the three Washoe 
men who killed John McMullen and Mac Williams, to Cali- 
fornia to put them in jail." 

Just then one of the women cried out, " Look there, they 
have taken them out. See, they are taking them away." 
We were all looking after them, and before brother got 
near them the three prisoners broke and ran. Of course 
they were shot. Two were wounded, and the third ran 
back with his hands up. But all of them died^ 

Oh, such a scene I never thought I should see ! At day- 
break all the Washoes ran to where they were killed. The 

Digitized by 


Wars and their Causes. 63 

wife of the young man threw herself down on his dead body. 
Such weeping was enough to make the very mountains 
weep to see them. They would take the dead bodies in 
their arms, and they were all bloody themselves. I ran to 
Mrs. Ormsbey crying. I thought my poor heart would 
break. I said to her, "I believe those Washoe women. 
They say their men are all innocent. They say they were 
not aw^ from their camp for a long time, and how could 
they have been the men that killed the white men ? " I 
told her all I had heard the women say, and I said I 
believed them. Mrs. Ormsbey said, — 

"How came the Washoe arrows there? and the chief 
himself has brought them to us, and my husband knows 
what he is doing." 

I ran back to see what they were going to do with the 
dead bodies, as I had heard my people say that the Washoes 
were like the Digger Indians, who bum their dead. When 
I got there the Washoe chief was talking to my brother. 
I did not know what he said before I came, but I know 
from what I heard that he had been making confession. 
He said, pointing down to the men that were innocently 

" It is true what the women say, — it is I who have killed 
them. Their blood is on my hands. I know their spirits 
will haunt me, and give me bad luck while I live." 

This was what the Washoe chief ^aid to my brother. 
The one that was wounded also died, and the sister and 
the mother it was dreadful to see. The mother cried 
out, — 

" Oh, may the Good Spirit send the same curse upon you ! 
You may all live to see the day when you will suffer at the 
hands of your white brothers, as you call them." She said 
to her girl, — 

" My child, you have no brother now, — no one to love 

Digitized by 


64 Life Among the Piutes. 

you, no one to come with game and say, * Here, sister, here 
is game for you.' You are left all alone. Oh, my sweet 
son, — gone, gone ! " 

This was the first trouble the poor Washoes had with 
white people, and the only one they ever did have with 

So the day passed away, and the two dead Washoes 
were taken away, and their bodies were burned. That is 
their custom. The other was taken to California. My 
poor little sister made herself sick she cried so much that 

Two days afterwards Major Ormsbey sent his men home ; 
so he did my cousin, who is called young Winnemucca, and 
brother staid longer for us, because we had been with 
Major Ormsbey a long time, and we could talk very well. 
My poor little sister was so very sick it was two weeks 
before we could go to our mother. When we got home it 
was winter. There was so much snow that we staid in the 
mountains where now stands the great city called Virginia 
City. It was then our Pine-nut mountains. Some time 
during the winter the Washoe chief came and told us that 
the white men who killed McMullen and MacWilliams were 
caught. My brother Natchez said, — 

" Oh, have they been caught ? " " Yes, that is what 
Major Ormsbey said ; so did all the others.*' The Washoe 
chief went on and said, " I have come to ask you to pay 
me for the loss of the two men. The white men have 
brought back the other men, and they say that they have 
hung two men." My brother told the Washoe chief that 
his people had nothing to do with what the white people 
had done. " It is you who ought to pay the poor mother 
and sister and wife of your own tribe, because you gave 
them up yourself, therefore you must not blame us. We 
only did our duty, and we all know that the white men did 

Digitized by 


Wars and their Causes, 65 

nothing to us, and we did no more than what they would 
do for us." Next day my brother went to see for himself. 
He giave the Washoe chief a horse to go with him, for the 
poor Washoes had never owned a horse in their lives. Ten 
men went with my brother. 

Digitized by 




My grandfather was very sick at that time. My brother 
was away two days and my grandfather was very low, so 
they had to send to him to come back. As soon as he 
came, word was sent everywhere that their mighty chief was 
dying. In two days* time we could see the signal-fires of 
death on every mountain-top. My brother came b^k ^and 
told his people that it was true tliat their own white broth- 
ers had killed the men for their money. The way they 
were found out was this : They were playing cards for the 
money, and one of the men lost his. There were five of 
them. I'hey were almost fighting about the money, and 
two men who were out hunting heard them, and went near 
enough to hear all. One of the men went to town to 
bring some one to arrest them, and the other staid to watch 
them. The one that lost his money said : — 

" If you won't give me back my money I will tell of you. 
Are you going to give me back my money or not ? " 

trhey all swore at him, and told him if he did not stop 
talking they would shoot him. Then the sheriffs came and 
took them and all the money they had. Two of the men 
told how they got the Washoe arrows and placed them in 
the woundsy as if the Indians had killed them. This is 


Digitized by 


Captain Truckee's Death. 67 

what brother^ told his people ; he said, " This is what our 
white brothers told me to say to you." 

Our people gathered from far and near, for my poor, 
poor grandpa was going very fast. His beloved people 
"vi^ere watching him. It was the most solemn thing that I 
ever saw, before or since. Now he sent for a dear beloved 
white brotlier of his, named Snyder. My brother went foi 
him. When he came my poor, dear grandfather called 
him to his bedside and said to him : — 

" I am now going to die. I have always loved you as if 
you were my dear son ; and one thing 1 want you to do for 

He said to my father : " Raise me up ; I want to see my 

My father raised him up, and while he was looking 
around him his eyes fell on me and my sisters. He just 
looked at us, and he said to the white man : — 

" You see there are my two little girls and there is my 
big girl, and there are my two boys. They are my sons' 
children, and the two little girls I want you to take to Cali- 
fornia, to Mr. Bonsai and Mr. Scott. They will send 
them to school to ' the sisters,' at San Jos^. Tell them 
this is my last request to them. I shall soon die. I shall 
never see them in person ; they have promised to teach 
my two little girls when they become large enough." He 
looked up and said, " Will you promise to do this for me ? " 

The white man took my grandfather's hand and prom- 
ised to do as he asked. My grandfather then bade him 
good-by, and said, " I want to talk to my own people." 
When he was gone he looked at my father and told him 
what he must do, as he was to be head chief of the Piute 
nation. He cautioned him to be a good father, as he had 
always been, and, after talking awhile, he broke ^down. 
We all cried. He remained in that way all night and every 

Digitized by 


68 Life Among the Piutes. 

one watched him. Next morning about ten o'clock, a 
great many of our people came. The doctor was called to 
lay hands on him, and try to bring him to ; but all efforts 
were in vain, so nothing could be done but watch him, 
which was done all day. Night came on, and still the 
watch was kept up. At midnight, which was told by the 
seven stars reaching the same place the sun reaches at 
midday, he turned and twisted without opening his eyes. 
The doctor said, " He is dying — he will open his eyes in a 
minute." Ten minutes passed, when he opened his eyes in 
his usual bright and beautiful way, and his first words 
were : — 

" Son, where are you ? Come and raise me up — let me 
sit up." 

My father raised him up. Then he called mother, say- 

" Bring all the children." Mother awoke my sister. I 
was not asleep, small as I was. I lay awake, watching 
for fear he would die while I was asleep. We gathered 
around him. He looked around to see if there were any 
others but his family present. He saw the white man, the 
same one that had promised to take care of his little girls. 
He pointed to his feet when we gathered round him and 
motioned for him to cover them and he did so. Then he 
said : — 

" I 've only a minute to spare. I 'm so tired ; I shall soon 
be happy. Now, son, I hope you will live to see as much 
as I have, and to know as much as I do. And if you live 
as I have you will some day come to me. Do your duty as I 
have done to your people and to your white brothers." He 
paused, closed his eyes, and stretched out. My poor 
mother, thinking he was dead, threw herself upon his 
bosom, but was aroused by the doctor's saying, " Hold on, 
— the spirit has not left the body." My mother rose up, and 

Digitized by 


Captain Truckee's Death. 69 

of dourse, all of us were crying, " Poor grandpa 1 Poor 
grandpa I " Then he recovered himself again, and, opening 
his eyes, said : 

" Don't throw away my white rag-friend ; place it on my 
breast when you bury me." He then looked at his wife as 
if he wanted to say something, but his voice failed. Then 
the doctor said, " He has spoken his last words, he has 
given his last look, his spirit is gone ; watch his lips, — he 
will speak as he enters the Spirit-land " ; and so he did, at 
least he seemed to. His lips moved as if he was whis- 
pering. We were then told by the doctor that he was in 
heaven, and we all knew he was.' No one who knew him 
would doubt it. But how can I describe the scene that 
followed? Some oi you, dear reader, can imagine. 
Every one threw themselves upon his body, and their cries 
could be heard for many a mile. I crept up to him. I 
could hardly believe he would never speak to me again. I 
knelt beside him, euid took his dear old face in my hands, 
and looked at him quite a while. I could not speak. I felt 
the world growing cold; everything seemed dark. The 
great light had gone out. I had father, mother, brothers, 
and sisters ; it seemed I would rather lose all of them than 
my poor grandpa. I was only a simple child, yet I knew 
what a great man he was. I mean great in principle. I 
knew how necessary it was for our good that he should live. 
I think if he had put out his hands and asked me to go 
with him, I would gladly have folded myself in his arms. 
And now, after long years of toil and trouble, I think if 
our great Father had seen fit to call me with him, I could 
have died with a better opinion of the world. 

In regard to the doctor's saying, " He will speak as he en- 
ters the Spirit-land," I wish to say it is the belief of my peo- 
ple that the spirit speaks as it goes in. They say if a child 
has a mother or a father in the Spirit-land, he will cry as 
his soul enters. 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

70 Life Among the Piutes, 

Such a scene I never had seen before. Everybody would 
take his dead body in their arms and weep. Poor papa 
kept his body two days. Now came the burial. Every 
thing he had was put into the grave with him. His body 
was put into blankets when it was ready to be put into the 
grave, and after he was buried, six of his horses were 
killed. Now, my dear readers, I do not want you to think 
that we do this thing because we think the dead use what 
we put in ; or, if we kill horses at any one's death that they 
will use them in the Spirit-land. No, no ; but it is the last 
respect we pay our dead. 

In the spring of i860, my sister and I were taken to San 
Josd, California. Brother Natchez and five other men went 
with us. On our arrival we were placed in the "'Sisters' 
School " by Mr. Bonsai and Mr. Scott. We were only 
there a little while, say three weeks, when complaints were 
made to the sisters by wealthy parents about Indians being 
in school with their children. The sisters then wrote to 
our friends to come and take us away, and so they did, — at 
least, Mr. Scott did. He kept us a week, and sent word to 
brother Natchez to come for us, but no one could come, 
and he sent word for Mr. Scott to put us on the stage and 
send us back. We arrived at home all right, and shortly 
after, the war of i860 began in this way: — 

Two little girls about twelve years old went out in the 
woods-to dig roots, and did not come back, and so their 
parents went in search of them, and not finding them, all 
my people who were there came to their help, and very 
thoroughly searched, and found trails which led up to the 
house of two traders named Williams, on Carson River, 
near by the Indian camp. But these men said they had 
not seen the children, and told my people to come into the 
house and search it ; and this they did, as they thought, 
thoroughly. After a few, days they sorrowfully gave up all 

Digitized by 


Captain Truckees Death, 71 

search, and their relations had nearly given them up for 
dead, when one morning an Indian rode up to the cabin of 
the Williamses. In those days the settlers did not hesitate 
to sell us guns and ammunition whenever we could buy, so 
these brothers proposed, to buy the Indian's horse as soon 
as he rode up. They offered him a gun, five cans of 
powder, five boxes of caps, five bars of lead, and after some 
talk the trade was made. The men took the horse, put 
him in the stable and closed the door, then went into the 
house to give him the gun, etc. They gave him the gun, 
powder, and caps, but would not give him the lead, and 
because he would not take a part, he gave back what he 
had taken from them, and went out to the barn to take his 
horse. Then they set their dog upon him. When bitten by 
the dog he began hallping, and to his surprise he heard 
children's voices answer him, and he knew at once it was 
the lost children. He made for his camp as fast as he 
could, and told what hsid happened, and what he had heard. 
Brother Natchez and others went straight to the cabin of the 
Williams brothers. The father demanded the children. They 
denied having them, and after talking quite awhile denied it 
again, when all at once the brother of the children knocked 
one of the Williamses down with his gun, and raised his 
gun to strike the other, but before he could do so, one of 
the Williams brothers stooped down and raised a trap-door, 
on which he had been standing. This was a surprise to 
my people, who hac} never seen anything of the kind. The 
father first peeped down, but could see nothing ; then he 
went down and found his children lying on a little bed with 
their mouths tied up with rags. He tore the rags away and 
brought them up. When my people saw their condition, 
they at once killed both brothers and set fire to the house. 
Three days after the news was spread as usual. "The 
bloodthirsty savages had murdered two innocent, hard- 

Digitized by 


72 Life Among the Piutes. 

working, industrious, kind-hearted settlers ; " and word was 
sent to California for some army soldiers to demand the 
murderers of the Williamses. As no army soldiers were 
there just then, Major Ormsbey collected one hundred and 
sixty volunteers, and came up, and without asking or listen- 
ing to any explanation demanded the men. But my people 
would not give them up, and when the volunteers fired on 
my people, they flew to arms to defend the father and 
brother, as any human beings would do in such a case, and 
ought to do. And so the war began. It lasted about three 
months, and after a few precious ones of my people, and 
at least a hundred white men had been killed (amongst 
them our dear friend. Major Ormsbey, who had been so 
hasty), a peace was made. My brother had tried to save 
Major Ormsbey's life. He met him. in the fight, and as he 
was ahead of the other Indians, Major Ormsbey threw 
down his arms, and implored him not to kill him. There 
was not a moment to be lost. My brother said, — 

" Drop down as if dead when I shoot, and I will fire over 
you ; " but in the hurry and agitation he still stood pleading, 
and was killed by another man's shot 

Some other friends of my brother. Judge Broomfield and 
servant, and a Spaniard lived in a small cabin about twelve 
miles off. They were not fighting against us, and my 
brother defended their lives and risked his own. He stood 
at their cabin door, and beat back the assailants with a 
club, and succeeded in driving them off* But my uncle 
and cousins were so angry with him for saving white men's 
lives that they whipped him with a horsewhip. We all 
knew my uncle loved us. He was always kind to us ; but I 
never could love him again as I had done after he whipped 
my brother, — my noble, patient brother, who bore his uncle 
no ill-will, but was satisfied that he had saved the lives of 
his friends. 

Digitized by 


Captain Tnickees Death. 73 

Brave deeds don't always get rewarded in this world. 

There was another occasion when my brother saved the 
Itfe of his friend, Mr. Seth Cook, of San Francisco, and of 
six others ; but as I do not remember all the particulars I 
will not attempt to relate it. Mr. Cook had often given 
my brother valuable assistance, and he is still living, and 
can tell the story of his escape from death himself. 

The regular troops at last reached the ground, and^fter 
fighting a little while raised a flag of truce, which w^as re- 
sponded to by my brother, and peace was made, and a 
treaty giving the Pyramid Lake Reservation to my people. 
I have no way of telling any of the particulars. The 
reservation was given to us in i860, and we were to get 
large supplies as long as we were peaceful; but though 
there were thirteen agents there in the course of twenty- 
three years, I never knew of any issue after that first 

Among the traditions of our people is one of a small 
tribe of barbarians who used to live along the Humboldt 
River. It was many hundred years ago. They used to 
waylay my people and kill and eat them. They would dig 
large holes in our trails at night, and if any of our people 
travelled at night, which they did, for they were afraid di 
these barbarous people, they would oftentimes fall into 
these holes. That tribe would even eat their own dead — 
fes, they would even come and dig up our dead after they 
were buried, and would carry them off anij eat them. Now 
^nd then they would come and make war on my people. 
They would fight, and as fast as they killed one another on 
either side, the women would carry off those who were 
killed. My people say they were very brave. When they 
were fighting they would jump up in the air after the arrows 
that went over their heads, and shoot the same arrows 
back again. My people took some of them into their 

Digitized by 


74 Life Among the Piutes. 

families, but they could not make them like themselves. 
So at last they made war on them. This war lasted a long 
time. Their number was about twenty-six hundred (2600). 
The war lasted some three years. My people killed them 
in great numbers, and what few were left went into the 
thick bush. My people set the hush on fire. This was 
right above Humboldt Lake. Then they went to work and 
made tuly or bulrush boats, and went into Humboldt Lake. 
They could not live there very long without fire. They 
were nearly starving. My people were watching them all 
round the lake, and would kill them as fast as they would 
come on land. At last one night they all landed on the 
east side of the lake, and went into a cave near the moun- 
tains. It was a most horrible place, for my people watched 
at the mouth of the cave, and would kill them as they came 
out to get water. My people would ask them if they would 
be like us, and not eat people like coyotes or beasts. 
They talked the same language, but they would not give 
up. At last my people were tired, and they went to work 
and gathered wood, and began to fill up the mouth of the 
cave. Then the poor fools began to pull the wood inside 
till the cave was full. At last my people set it on fire ; 
at the same time they cried out to them, ** Will you give up 
and be like men, and not eat people like beasts ? Say quick 
— we will put out the fire." No answer came from them. 
My people said they thought the cave must be very deep 
or far into the mountain. They had never seen the cave 
nor known it was there until then. They called out to 
them as loud as they could, ♦♦ Will you give up ? Say so, or 
you will all die." But no answer came. Then they all 
left the place. In ten days some went back to see if the 
fire had gone out. They went back to my third or fifth 
great-grandfather and told him they must all be dead, there 
was such a horrible smell. This tribe was called people- 

Digitized by 


Captain Truckees Death, 7J 

eaters, and after my people had killed them all, the peo* 
pie round us called us Say-do-carah, It means conqueror ; 
it also means " enemy." I do not know how we came by 
the name of Piutes. It is not an Indian word. I think 
it is misinterpreted. Sometimes we are called Pine-nut 
eaters, for we are the only tribe that lives in the country 
where Pine-nuts grow. My people say that the tribe we 
exterminated had reddish hair. I have some of their hair, 
which has been handed down from father to son. I have 
a dress which has been in our family a great many years, 
trimmed with this reddish hair. I am going to wear it 
some time when I lecture. It is called the mourning 
dress, and no one has such a dress but my family. 

Digitized by 




This reservation, given in i860, was at first sixty miles 
long and fifteen wide. The line is where the railroad now 
crosses the river, and it takes in two beautiful lakes, one 
called Pyramid Lake, and the one on the eastern side, 
Muddy Lake. No white people lived there at the time it 
was given us. We Piutes have always lived on the river, 
because out of those two lakes we caught beautiful moun- 
tain trout, weighing from two to twenty-five pounds each, 
which would give us a good income if we had it all, as at 
first. Since the railroad ran through in 1867, the white 
people have taken all the best part of the reservation from 
us, and one of the lakes also. 

The first work that my people did on the reservation was 
to dig a ditch, to put up a grist-mill and saw-mill. Com- 
mencing where the railroad now crosses at Wadsworth, 
they dug about a mile; but the saw-mill and grist-mill were 
never seen or heard of by my people, though the printed 
report in the United States statutes, which my husband 
found lately in the Boston Athenaeum, says twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars was appropriated to build them. Where did 
it go ? The report says these mills were sold for the benefit 
of the Indians who were to be paid in lumber for houses, 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes, yy 

but no stick of lumber have they ever received. My peo- 
ple do not own any timber land now. The white people 
are using the ditch which my people made to irrigate their 
land. This is the way we are treated by our white brothers. 
Is it that the government is cheated by its own agents who 
make these reports ? 

In 1864-5 there was a governor by the name of Nye. 
There were no whites living on the reservation at that time, 
and there was not any agent as yet. My people were liv- 
ing there and fishing, as they had always done. Some 
white men came down from Virginia City to fish. My 
people went up to Carson City to tell Governor Nye 
that some white men were fishing on their reservation. 
He sent down some soldiers to drive them away. Mr. 
Nye is the only governor who ever helped my people, — I 
mean that protected them when they called on him in this 

In 1865 we had another trouble with our white brothers. 
It was early in the spring, and we were then living at Day- 
ton, Nevada, when a company of soldiers came through 
the place 'and stopped and spoke to some of my people, and 
said, " You have been stealing cattle from the white people 
at Harney Lake." They said also that they would kill every- 
thing that came in their way, men, women, and children. 
The captain's name was Wells. The place where they 
were going to is about three hundred miles away. The 
days after they left were very sad hours, indeed. Oh, dear 
readers, these soldiers had gone only sixty miles away to 
Muddy Lake, where my people were then living and fishing, 
and doing nothing to any one. The soldiers rode up to 
their encampment and fired into it, and killed almost all the 
people that were there. Oh, it is a fearful thing to tell, but 
it must be told. Yes, it must be told by me. It was all 
old men, women and children that were killed; for my 

Digitized by 


78 ^ Life Among the Piutes, 

father had all the young men with him, at the sink of Car- 
son on a hunting excursion, or they would have been killed 
too. After the soldiers had killed all but some little chil- 
dren and babies still tied up in their baskets, the soldiers 
took them also, and set the camp on fire and threw them 
into the flames to see them burn alive. I had one baby 
brother killed there. My sister jumped on father's best 
horse and ran away. As she ran, the soldiers ran after 
her ; but, thanks be to the Good Father in the Spirit-land, 
my dear sister got away. This almost killed my poor 
papa. Yet my people kept peaceful. 

That same summer another of my men was killed on the 
reservation. His name was Truckee John. He was an 
uncle of mine, and was killed by a man named Flamens, 
who claimed to have had a brother killed in the war of 
i860, but of course that had nothing to do with my uncle. 
About two weeks after this, two white men were killed 
over at Walker Lake by some of my people, and of course 
soldiers were sent fOr from California, and a great many cona- 
panies came. They went after my people all over Nevada. 
Reports were made everywhere throughout the whole coun- 
try by the white settlers, that the red devils were killing their 
cattle, and by this lying of the white settlers the trail began 
which is marked by the blood of my people from hill to 
hill and from valley to valley. The soldiers followed after 
my people in this way for one year, and the Queen's River 
Piutes were brought into Fort Churchill, Nevada, and in 
that campaign poor General McDermit was killed. These 
reports were only made by those white settlers so that they 
could sell their grain, which they could not get rid of in any 
other way. The only way the cattle-men and farmers get 
to make money is to start an Indian war, so that the troops 
may come and buy their beef, cattle, horses, and grain. 
The settlers get fat by it. 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. 79 

During this time my poor mother and sister died, and 
we were left all alone, with only father. The two Indians 
were taken who had killed the two white men over at 
Walker Lake. It was said they killed those two white 
men because the soldiers had killed their fathers at Muddy 
Lake, but they had no right to say so. They had no proof. 

I will tell you the doings of the agents in that agency. 
The first six who came I did not know. In 1866, after my 
poor mother and sister Mary died, I came down from 
Virginia City to live with my brother Natchez, while there 
were some white men living on the agency. They had a 
great many cattle on the reservation at the time. My 
people did not know how to work as yet. The agent was 
living there, and had a store of dry goods which he sold to 
my people. I staid with my brother all winter, and got 
along very poorly, for we had nothing to eat half of the 
time. Sometimes we would go to the agent's house and he 
would get my sister-in law to wash some clothes, and then 
he would give us some flour to take home. 

In the month of May the agent sold an Indian man some 
powder. He crossed the river, when he was met by one 
of the agent's men, who shot him dead on the spot, because 
he had the powder. My brother and I did not know what 
to do. All our people were wild with excitement. Brother 
and I thought he did wrong to sell the powder to one of 
our men, knowing it was against the law. Our people said 
they would go and kill him. 

Brother said to me, " What shall we do ? " I said, " We 
will go and tell them all to go away this very night." So we 
put saddles on our horses, and away we went to tell the 
agent what our people had said. The river was very high ; 
when crossing it my horse fell down in the river, and I got 
very wet. Brother jumped off his horse, and helped me on 
again. We went up to the house, and I said to him, — 

Digitized by 


8o Life Among tfte Piutes, 

" Mr. Newgent, go away, quick ! My people are coming 
here to kill all of you, and tell all who are on the river to 
go too, for they will surely come and kill them all." He 
said, " I am not afraid of them, — they will be glad to stop ' 
before they do anything. We have a good many guns." 
He called to his men, saying, " Get your guns ready; we 
will show the damned red devils hoAV to fight." Brother 
said again to him, " We would like to have you go ; please 
do not get us into any more trouble." He told my brother 
and me to go away. We did so. As soon as we got to 
our home, my brother got all his people together, and told 
them to get ten young men and go and watch the crossing 
of the river, and if any one tried to cross, lo catch him. 
" If there is more than one kill them if you can ; by so 
doing we will save ourselves, for you know if we allowed 
our people to kill the white men we should all be killed 
here. It is better that we should kill some of our own 
men than to be all killed here." 

About midnight my brother called his people together 
again. They all came running. Brother said to them, " I 
had a dream, and it is true that our people who were com- 
ing to kill the agent and his men are not going to kill 
them, but they are going to the Deep Wells, and the deed 
is already done." The place he spoke of is about thirty 
miles from the place where we were then, near Virginia 
City, Nevada. He said, " I see only one dead ; one is not 
dead, but he will die. I see a great many horses taken by 
them. It is only a dream, but nevertheless, it is true. 
Get your horses ; we will go after them. We must do it or 
we will all be in trouble." 

So brother took thirty of his men to go and head them 
off, if they could. After he went away, I heard one of the 
men say, " I wonder if what our chief said is true ! " Just 
then some one was seen coming. He gave an alarm of 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. 8 1 

danger at hand. Every one^ jumped to their guns. I 
jumped on a horse, barebacked, to go and meet him, and 
VKf men did likewise. When we met him my first word 
was, " What is it ? " He said, " We shall all die this very 
day." "Why?" said I. "Oh, somebody has killed a 
white man and another is almost dead." "Where are 
they?" said I. "At the Deep Wells." One of the men 
said, " Did you see them ? " He said, " Yes, and that is 
not all ; our agent has gone to get soldiers to come and kill 
us all.'* I said, " Where did you see him ? " " Half way to 
the soldiers." 

Just then we heard another alarm. We all turned our 
heads towards the noise. We saw another of our men 
coming as if he was running for his dear life. We all ran 
to meet him. He too said, "We' shall all be killed." He 
told the same thing about one dead man and one almost 
dead. So we returned to the camp again. 

The sub-chief sent out spies to watch and come in to tell 
us in time to meet our enemies. In this way passed the 
day. Newgent, our agent, had left his house at daybreak 
to go to the fort to see some of the officers there. He 
rode up to the house, got off his horse, and went in to tell 
them about the trouble he had on the agency. A fearful 
thing met his eyes. One man was really dead, and the 
other almost dead. He asked what was the matter. The 
man answered, " Three Indians came here last night and 
shot us, and they thought they had killed both of us. 
They have taken all our things away, and they swore 
at us in good English language that the agent had their 
brother killed." Poor man, he did not know that he 
was talking to the very devil that had made all the 
trouble. Very late that evening, two of our men came 
as before. They brought me a letter; these were the 
words : — 

Digitized by 


-'^: — i tw in 

82 Life Among the Piute^. 

" Miss Sarah Winnemucca, — Your agent tells us very 
bad things about your people's killing two of our men. I 
want you and your brother Natchez to meet me at your 
place to-night. I want to talk to you and your brother. 
Signed, Captain Jerome, 

Company M^ 8th Cavalry,^^ 

^ It took me some time to read it, as I was very poor, indeed, 
at reading writing ; and I assure you, my dear readers, I 
am not much better now. After reading it four or more 
times, I knew what it said, I did not know what to do, as 
brother had not returned. I had no ink to write with. 
My people all gathered round me waiting for me to tell 
them something. I did not say anything. They could not 
wait any longer. They asked me what the paper said. 
I said, "The soldiers are coming; the officer wants me 
and my brother to see them at our place." At that time, 
brother and I had a place on the reservation. 

They said, " Oh, it is too bad that he went off this morn- 
ing ; you and he might be the means of saving us. Can 
you speak to them on paper ? " 

I said, " I have nothing to write with. I have no ink. 
I have no pen." 

They said, "Oh, take a stick, — take anything. Until 
you talk on that paper we will not believe you can talk on 

I said, " Make me a stick with a sharp point, and bring 
me some fish's blood." They did as I told them, and 
then I wrote, saying, — 

" Hon. Sir, — My brother is not here. I am looking 
for him every minute. We will go as soon as he comes in. 
If he comes to-nigjit, we will come some time during the 
night; Yours, S. W." 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. %% 

I sent the same man back with the letter. He had not 
. been gone long when my brother came in with his men. 
Everybody ran to him and told him his dream had come 
true. Some of the men who were with brother said, " We 
knew it was true before we got here. We saw the horses' 
tracks, so it is nothing strange to us." Then I told him 
that the agent had a company of soldiers waiting for him 
and me at our place. Brother asked when Newgent went 
for them. ** Early in the morning," I guessed, "and 
your dream, dear brother, was true. Mr. Coffman and 
his man are killed." " Oh, sister, do not fool with your 

I said, " Indeed, indeed, it is so." Everybody cried 
out, " It is every word of it true." 

" Get us fresh horses," said he, " and we will go and see 
them. Wife, get me something to eat before I go. I want 
twenty men to go with me and my sister. Dear sister, did 
you send them word that we would come as soon as I came 
home ? " " Yes brother." We were soon on the road to 
see the soldiers. We went like the wind, never stopping 
until we got there. The officer met us. I told him every- 
thing from the first beginning of the trouble. I told him 
that the agent sold some powder to an Indian, and that his 
own men had killed the Indian. I told him how brother 
and I went to him and asked him and his men to go away, 
as we had heard that our people were going to kill him. I 
told him that he talked bad to brother and me, because we 
went to tell him of it. I told this to the officer right before 
the agent. The agent did not have anything to say, and 
then the officer asked my brother what he knew about it, 
and if he had seen anything during that day. He asked : — 

" How many head of horses do you think they have ? " 
" I don't know — a good many." " Well, how many do you 
think ? " ** Maybe sixty, or more." 

Digitized by 


84 Lif^ Among the Piutes. 

I think the officer did not speak to the agent while we 
were there. We did not stay long, because I was afraid of 
the soldiers, although the officer asked us to stop all night. 
I said, " Brother, we will go back." The officer said, " We 
will come down to-morrow, and have another talk with 
your sister." So off we went. 

Many of our people did not sleep that night. . Brother 
called all his people together at one place. He told them 
the soldiers were their friends, and not to be afraid qf 
them, because if they had come to fight with them they 
would have brought more with them. He told our people 
there were only a few. So we watched for their coming 
the next morning. At last they came, and camped along- 
side of brother's camp. The first thing he did was to tell 
us not to be afraid. If we wanted protection the officer 
would send for his company to come down from Carochel. 
We said our people were very much afraid of the soldiers. 
He asked us what we had to eat. We told him we had 
nothing just then, but we hoped the fish would soon run up 
the river, so that we might catch some. He saw that we 
had nothing at all. He said he would go up to the Fort 
and tell the commanding officer about us. So he took two 
men with him, and left the rest with us. Two days after- 
wards a soldier came in and told brother that the captain 
had three wagons of provisions for him and his people. 
Oh, how glad we were, for we were very poorly off for 
want of something to eat. That was the first provision I 
had ever seen issued to my people ! The agent came to 
the officer, and said, " If you want to issue beef to the 
Indians, I have some cattle I can sell you." The officer 
told him " to be off." Five days after, five soldiers came 
down from the Fort with a letter for the captain. After 
he read the letter, he called brother and me to him, and 
said : — 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. 8$ 

" I have got a letter from the commanding officer at the 
Fort, asking me if your father is here with you." Brother 
told him he' had not been with us for a long time. I was 
crying, and I told him father had not been in since the 
soldiers killed my little brother. I told him that he sent 
word to us some six months ago that he had gone to live 
in the mountains, and to die there. I was crying all the 
while I was talking to him. My people were frightened ; 
they did not know what I was saying. Our men gathered 
all round us. They asked brother what was the matter. 
He told them what the officer said to me. 

" Sarah, don't cry, you and your brother shall go with me, 
and we will get your father here. If he will come in he 
will be cared for by the 'officers of the army. The com- 
manding officer says you are to go with me to Camp 
McDermitt, and you can get your father and all your people 
to come into the army post, where you can be fed. Now, 
if you will go, we will start by the first of July. Brother 
asked me what I thought about it. " Dear brother," I 
said, " I will do whatever you say. If you say so, we will 
go and get our father if we can. We can try it." Brother 
told all to his people. Some said : — 

" Maybe they will kill him. You and your sister know 
what liars the white people are, and if you go and get him 
and he is killed by the soldiers, his blood will be on you." 
Brother said : — 

" I believe what the officers say, and if father comes in 
they will take good care of us." They said, " Well, it is 
your father, and you two know best what to do. If any- 
thing happens to him, you will have no one to blame but 
yourselves." Brother said, " What has my father done to 
the white people that they should harm him ? Because 
white people are bad that is no reason why the soldiers 
should be bad, too.? 

Digitized by 


86 Life Among the Piutes. 

(Brother^and my people always say " the white people," 
just as if the soldiers were not white, too.) So we told the 
captain that we would go with hitn. 

Now, dear readers, this is the way all the Indian agents 
get rich. The first thing they do is to start a store ; the 
next thing is to take in cattle men, and cattle men pay the 
agent one dollar a head. In this way they get rich very 
soon, so that they can have their gold-headed canes, with 
their names engraved on them, The one I am now speak- 
ing of is only a sub-agent. He told me the head agent 
was living in Carson City, and he paid him fifteen hundred 
dollars a year for the use of die reservation. Yet, he has 
fine horses and cattle and sheep, and is very rich. The 
sub-agent was a minister ; his nanle was Balcom. He did 
not stay very long, because a man named Batemann hired 
some Indians to go and scare him away from the reserva- 
tion, that he might take his place. The leader of these 
Indians was named Dave. He was interpreter at the 
Pyramid Lake Reservation. So Batemann got the minister 
away, and then he got rich in the same way. 

While Batemann was agent, I was asked' to act as inter- 
preter to the Shoshones by a man called Captain Dodge, 
agent for the Shoshone Indians. He was going to issue 
clothing to them at a place called Battle Mountain. My 
brother Natchez went all about to summon the people 
there. I told Colonel Dodge all about our agent at 
Pyramid Lake Reservation. He said he would go to see 
him, which he did. It took three days for the people to 
come up. Oh, such an issue f It was enough to make a 
doll laugh. A family numbering eight persons got two 
blankets, three shirts, no dress-goods. Some got a fish- 
hook and line ; some got one and a half yards of flannel, 
blue and red ; the largest issue was to families that camped 
together, numbering twenty-three persons : four blankets. 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. S^ 

three pieces of red flannel, and some of blue, three shirts, 
three hooks and lines, two kettles. It was the saddest 
affair I ever saw. There were ready-made clothes of all 
kinds, hats, shoes, and shawls, and farming utensils of all 
kinds. Bales upon bales, of clothing were sent away to 
Salt Lake City. After the issue, the things were all to be 
put intOs one place. Holy songs were offered up to the 
Great Spirit Father. The things were blessed before they 
were to be worn, and all the young men put the blankets 
round them and danced. In the morning some of the men 
went round with only one leg dressed in flannel, which 
made all the white people laugh. At this issue our agent, 
Mr. Batemann, gave the Shoshones one ton of flour before 
this new agent, which made me very angry, and I talked to 
him before Colonel Dodge. I said, " You come up here to 
show off before this man. Go and bring some flour to my 
people on Humboldt River, who are starving, the people 
over whom you are agent. For shapie that you who talk 
three times a day to the Great Father in Spirit-land should 
act so to my people." This man called himself a Christian, 

Then came another agent by the name of Spencer. He 
was a better one than we had ever had. He issued some 
blankets to some old men and women and blind people, 
and gave brother some pieces of land to work upon. He 
then gave my people wagons, — about ten altogether ; and 
he had his daughter brought as a teacher, at the rate of 
fifty dollars a month. But he soon died, and then came 
our present agent. He was not married at the time, but 
he very soon learned that there was money to be made, so 
he went back and got married. Of course he put his wife 
in as teacher. Mr. MacMasters, for that is his name, has 
his own method of making my people divide the produce. 
If they raise five sacks of gr^in, they give one sack for the 

Digitized by 


88 Life Among the Piutes, 

Big Father in Washington ; if they have only three sacks, 
they still have to send one. Every fourth load of hay 
goes to the Big Father at Washington, yet he does not give 
my people the seed. The head-farmer, who is called Mush- 
rush, never shows my people how to work. This is why 
they said, " Why does the Big Father want us to pay him 
when he does not give us the seed ? We have to pay for the 
seed ourselves." Both the agent and farmer told my 
people they would have to pay it or the Big Father would 
take away their wagons. So my people talked it over and 
said, " We will pay it." Later they got up a paper, which the 
agent and the f wanted my people to sign. The sub- 
chief would not put his hand to the pen. He said to the 

**I have been working for so many years, and I have 
never received anything as yet. You say it is supplies you 
are sending me and my people ; but I am sick and tired of 
lies, and I won't sign any paper." Of course our agent, 
Mr. MacMasterS, told him to leave the reservation. His 
wagon was taken from him. At this my people sent me 
down to San Francisco to tell the commanding officer. I 
did so. I gave Gen. McDowell a full account of the 
doings, and he reported him to the authorities. The fol- 
lowing spring my poor brother Natchez went to the agent 
and asked him to help him to a plough, and to give him a set 
of harness. He told my brother to go away. " You and 
your sister," he said, " talk about me all the time. I don't 
want you and your sister here." At this my poor brother 
got angry and said to him, " This is my resen'ation, not 
yours. I am going to stay here just as long as I like. My 
poor father and I never got so much as an old rag from 
any agent that ever came here." At this our minister got 
angry, and telegraphed to the soldiers to come and take 
brother and carry him to the Acotrass Islands. He wrote 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes, 89 

a letter, sajdng all my people wanted him to send my 
brother away where they could never see him any more. 
After he had written it, he called up all the head men of 
our people, and told them he had written to their father in 
Washington for good clothing for them, and wished them 
to sign the paper. Of course, they did not know any better ; 
they put their names to the paper, and signed their chief 
away! So the soldiers came and took brother to San 
Francisco, Cal. Brother was only there a little while when 
two white men whose lives he had saved went and took 
him out and sent him home, and wrote to our minister 
agent. Of course I knew not what was in the letter. 

Dear reader, I must tell a little more about my poor 
people, and what we suffer at the hands of our white 
brothers. Since the war of i860 there have been one hun- 
dred and three (103) of my people murdered, and our 
reservations taken from us ; and yet we, who are called 
blood-seeking savages, are keeping our promises to the 
government. Oh, my dear good Christian people, how long 
are you going to stand by and see us suifer at your hands ? 
Oh, dear friends, you are wrong when you say it will take 
two or three generations to civilize my people. No ! I say 
it will not take that long if you will only take interest in 
teaching us ; and, on the other hand, we shall never be 
civilized in the way you wish us to be if you keep on send- 
ing us such agents as have been sent to us year after year, 
who do nothing but fill their pockets, and the pockets of 
their wives and sisters, who are always put in as teachers, 
and paid from fifty to sixty dollars per month, and yet they 
do not teach. The farmer is generally his cousin, his pay 
is nine hundred dollars ($900) a year, and his brother is a 
clerk. I do not know his name. The blacksmith and car- 
penter have from five hundred to eleven hundred dollars 
per year. I got this from their own statements. I saw a 

Digitized by 


90 Life Among the Piutes. 

discharged agent while I was on my way here, who told me 
all the agents had to pay so much to the Secretary of the 
Interior, who had to make up what he paid to the agents. 
This I know to be a true confession, or the Secretary of the 
Interior and all the government officers would see into the 
doings of these Christian agents. Year after year they 
have been told of their wrong-doings by different tribes of 
Indians. Yet it goes on, just the same as if they did not 
know it. 

When I went to Carson City in 1870, to see about my 
people's affairs, I was sent by the officials from one to 
another. At last we went to San Francisco to see (General 
Schofield, and he sent me back to see Senator Jones. So 
brother and I went to where he was living in Gold Hill. I 
told him how my people were treated by the agents. He 
said, " I will see to it." He then put into my hands twenty 
dollars, which I took gratefully, for we were always poor, 
and brother and I went away. I have never seen or heard 
from him since. 

I can give you one example to show how easily the In- 
dians are influenced by those they respect and believe in. 
In 1868 many of my people were at Camp C. F. Smith-, 
taking care of themselves, but under many difficulties, and 
very destitute. There was no game in that region of any 
kind, except now and then a hare. They had no land to 
cultivate, but were living upon anything they could do or 
gather. Some citizens wrote to Col. McElroy, who was at 
that time commanding officer at Camp McDermitt, that the 
Indians were starving, and they were afraid there might be 
some outbreak, or depredations, and asking him to have 
them taken to his post. I was interpreter at Camp McDer- 
mitt at that time. Five hundred of my people, men, 
women and children, were already there. There were four 
hundred at Camp C. F. Smith. Col. McE^roy asked me 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. 91 

how many companies of soldiers it would take to escort 
them. I told him none ; that he and I could escort them, 
or my brother Lee and I. He could not believe me at 
first ; but I told him I knew my people, and he and I, with 
one servant, went for them. 

I went into council with my people. My brother Lee, 
who was there, and I sat up all night talking with them, 
and telling them what we wished them to do. We Indians 
never try to rule our people Without explaining everything 
to them. When they understand and consent, we have no 
more trouble. 

$ome of the interpreters are very ignorant, and don't 
understand English enough to know all that is said. This 
often makes trouble. Then I am sorry to say these Indian 
interpreters, who are often half-breeds, easily get corrupted, 
and can be hired by the agents to do or say anything. I 
know this, for some of them are my relatives. My people 
are very reasonable and want to understand everything, and 
be sure that there is fair play. 

For one thing, they said they had so many children they 
would find it hard to carry them sixty-five miles. . Did I 
think Col. McElroy would let them have some wagons ? I 
said I would ask him. He said *' yes ; " and he furnished 
fifteen wagons, which transported the women and children 
comfortably in two days, and the men had their horses. 
The recruits who were watching the buildings at Camp C. 
F. Smith (for there was not a large force there) furnished 
rations for the two days, and Col. McElroy was to replenish 
them from Camp McDermitt. 

There were now nine hundred in all at Camp McDermitt. 
Every head of a family was furnished with a good tent of 
the requisite size for his family, such tents as are used by 
the soldiers; and every morning, at five o'clock, rations 
for the day were issued. A pound and a half of meat was 

Digitized by 


92 Life Among the Pitites, 

given to every grown person, and good bread, — for they 
actually baked good bread for them, — and once a month 
coifee, rice, sugar, salt, pepper, and beans were issued. 
Each woman came to me every day with her basket, and 
her number on a tag, fastened to a leather thong tied round 
her neck, and told the size of her family and took what she 
needed from me ; and everything was recorded, for that is 
the way thing^s are done in soldiers' camps. Every one had 
enough. My father was with us at that time. He told my 
people in council one day that he thought it was an impo- 
sition to be living entirely on the soldier-fathers, when we 
could do something to support ourselves. He wanted them 
to go on hunting excursions in the summer, and bring in 
dried venison, rabbits, and what other game they could 
find ; and the women to go out and gather grass-seed, and 
dig roots and do what they could toward the supplies of 
the next winter. I told Col. McElroy what my father had 
said to his people, and he told them to go to the sutler's 
store and get what ammunition they wanted and bring him 
the record of it, and he would see that it was paid for. 
My father knew that the army gave this support for the 
Indians as prisoners out of its own supplies. My people 
had enough, I said ; they had more than enough, and by 
being prudent about their rations they could save and sell 
enough to get calicoes and other necessary things for the 
women and children ; .for these things are not found in army 
supplies. It is this generosity and this kind care and order 
and discipline that make me like the care of the army for 
my people. 

Col. McElroy belonged to Company M, Eighth Cavalry. 
He had my people in charge thre^ years, and was then 
ordered to New Mexico ; but before he could go, he died 
in San Francisco. He was the first ofl&cer I ever worked 
for as interpreter. 

Digitized by 



Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. 93 

Can you wonder, dear readers, that I like to have my 
people- taken care of by the army ? It is said that I am 
working in the interest of the army, and as if they wanted 
all this care. It is not so ; but they know more about the 
Indians than any citizens do, and are always friendly. 
Nobody really knows Indians who cheat them and treat 
them badly. They may be very peace-loving people, but 
that would make saints sin. They are the most sociable 
people in the world in their own camps ; but they are shut 
up to white people, because they are so often wronged by 

I remained at Camp McDermitt after Col. McElroy's 
death. They thought it best to buy a large herd of cattle 
for beef for the soldiers and my people, and for a time 
they hired some of the Indians for herdsmen ; but this 
proved too expensive, and they were discharged from that 
service, which was given to some soldiers. One night the 
whole herd was stolen and driven off. The greatest search 
was made for them, but all in vain. It seemed as if they 
had vanished. But at last, the commanding officer thought 
the Indians, who knew how to track a trail, would do 
better at such business than white men, who do not know 
how to find a trail of anything. My brother Lee was stay- 
ing with me then, and he and five other men undertook to 
find the cattle. They were gone five days, and at the end 
of the time came back and said they were found. They 
had traced them to a deep canon, and they were driven by 
one single man. One man had stolen and driven away all 
those cattle. My people had come back to get soldiers to 
go with them to capture him. So he was arrested, and 
brought back to the post with all the cattle. It was truly 
comical to think of it. I was very glad my people were 
successful, for it would surely have been believed that 
some Indians, if not mine, had driven those cattle off. 

Digitized by 


94 I-if^ Among the Piutes. 

The last time sister and I were on a visit to our people 
at our old home, just before I was married, we stopped 
with a white lady named Nichols, at Wadsworth, Nevada, 
on Pyramid Lake Reservation, the head-farmer named 
Mushrush, and the sub-agent at Walker River Reserva- 
tion in Nevada. Some one tried to break through our 
bedroom door, and my sister cried out to them, saying, 
"Get away from that door or I will shoot!" At my 
sister's words they went away. The name of the sub- 
agent is Louis Veviers, who has been with my people about 
eight years. All my people call him dog, because there is 
nothing too bad for him to say to them. After I was mar- 
ried, I went to let my people see my husband. While we 
were there we staid with my brother Tom. On New 
Year's evening we heard a great noise coming towards the 
house. They were trying to make a noise like my people 
who had just lost a son, and were crying. They were 
mocking them as they came on. There were four men, — 
the doctor, the carpenter, the blacksmith, and one of their 
friends. My brother's wife gave them some pine-nuts. 
By-and-by one of them gave my husband a bottle of fire- 
water, and asked him to pass it round. My husband replied, 
" Pass it round yourselves." They said, " Give some to 
your brother-in-law." My husband said, " Give it to him 
yourself." This is the kind of people, dear reader, that 
the government sends to teach us at Pyramid Lake Reser- 

My people wanted to cut the hay, but they were not 
allowed to sell it until within five years. My cousin. 
Captain Bill, and his brother, had borrowed some seed by 
promising to divide the wheat after harvest, which they did ; 
and then the farmer, who never showed them how to sow 
their grain, came to Bill, and said, " You must pay me for 
the use of the government land." " What for ? " said Bill. 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes, 95 

"Well, that's what the Big Father in Washington says." 
Then Bill said, " Take it all." After Mr. Mushrush took 
his unjust share, my poor cousin had only three sacks left 
for himself. Our present agent made my people give 
every third sack of grain, and the same of everything else. 
Every third load of hay is given. My people asked why, 
as he had not given them seed for planting, nof did the 
farmer help them. They did not see why they should pay 
so much, but the agent told them that was the order from 
Washington. They refused to pay it. The agent told 
them they must pay it or he would take their wagons away. 
They went home to talk it over that night. However, Jim, 
the sub-chief, told his people that the white men had been 
stealing from them for a long time, " and now I am going 
to steal from them this very night. I am going to have my 
family hide away half of my grain. I have sixty sacks of 
wheat and twenty-six of potatoes. As for the hay-cart I 
don't care. What do you think of me for talking so to you ? 
I see I can't keep up with the white people. They think it 
right to steal all they can while they are with us. And I 
am going to do another thing ; I am going to quit signing 
any paper, for I don't know what I have been signing all 
these twenty-two years." My cousin Captain Bill, and his 
brother, said, " We will keep all our grain, and if he wants 
the wagon he can take it." Then all the rest of the men 
said, " We will do the same as our chief, and what is left 
he can have." Some of them said, " We have only a little, 
and what shall we do ? " The next morning they went to 
the agent's house to see if he had changed his mind, but 
he told them that was the law. Bill told him that he might 
go and get his wagon. " I bought my seed and paid my 
own money for it, and you did not help me." The agent 
replied, " If you won't do what the government orders, you 
must leave the reservation." Jim, the sub-chief, said, ** You 

Digitized by 


96 Life Among the Piutes, 

may take all I -have, leave my people theirs, and I will go 
away into the mountains, and there I will live and die/' 
But the agent would not hear to it, and they all had to pay 
their share. My brother Tom said, " If we don't pay it 
we shall have to leave the reservation." 

The agent thought it necessary to make a show of some 
kind, and this is the way he did it There are unprincipled 
men in all tribes, as I suppose there are among all people, 
and the agent found one for his work. He is known as 
"Captain Dave." His Indian name is Numana. The 
plan made and carried out was thiis : Captain Dave was 
furnished with money, and appointed captain of police, a 
useless office, for Indians could not arrest either an Indian 
or a white man. They really were nothing but private 
servants to the agent. But this was promised to Captain 
Dave, provided he and six others would go to San Fran- 
cisco, and do what the agent wanted them to do. 

They were furnished with a drawing of a bridge that had 
been built, and told to go to the newspaper offices in San 
Francisco, and say beautiful things of the agent and his 
men. Every reasonable person will see by reading this 
paper, which was published in a newspaper, that the most 
intelligent Indian could not have given such a description 
of a bridge without he had been furnished with a memo- 
randum of it : — 

" Captain Dave and the Reservation. — Numana, bet- 
ter known as Captain Dave, one of the leading men of the 
Piute nation, called on us yesterday, and showed us several 
papers, among which was a letter of recommendation from 
Governor Kinkead, and an appointment from the Indian 
Commissioner as captain of the Indian police at Pyramid 
Reservation. Dave is a very intelligent Indian, and gave 
us the following facts connected with the Piutes and their 
doings : He and his body-guard of six Piutes have just 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. 97 

returned from a trip to San Francisco, where they spent 
the holidays pleasantly. He had in his possession a ver}^ 
good cut of the bridge at the reservation and its dimen- 
sions, which are, length one hundred and sixty-five feet, 
width twenty feet, height fifteen feet above low-water mark. 
A flume crossing the river on the bridge which carries the 
water from their irrigating ditch on the east side of the 
river to the other measures as follows : length twelve hun- 
dred feet, widtli six feet, height above ground on trestle 
eight to fifteen feet. He showed us by a rough sketch the 
course of the river at the reservation, the position of the 
dam, and the route of the ditch, which is not finished as yet. 
The dam is so constructed as to allow a channel (whereby 
the fish can run up) about ten feet wide and three or four 
feet deep. From the head of the ditch to the bridge is 
about one and a quarter miles, from the bridge to the 
Reservation House, about two miles. The ditch, when 
completed, will measure four miles and will irrigate a 
large area of land. The Indians are not working now, 
but are devt>ting their time to fishing. Agent McMasters 
is well-liked by the Indians, and he has a system of dealing 
with them which they fully understand and appreciate. 
Mrs. McMasters has charge of the school, and teaches 
some thirty Indian children, many of them being apt 
scholars, and all seeming to like to attend school. 

" Mr. Mushrush, the farmer, is giving perfect satisfaction, 
showing the Indians how to work, and does n*t simply 
order, but takes a hand himself, which Dave says pleases 

" They intend to farm on a larger scale next year than at 
any time before. Mr. McMasters* method in dividing the 
produce is stated by Captain Dave to be in this way. The 
Indian raises five sacks of grain, he retains four, and gives 
the government one. If he has four loads of hay he gives 

Digitized by 


98 Life Among the Piutes. 

one of them to the government. This is given by the 
Indians to help feed the government stock, which is kept 
at work hauling stone, lumber, wood, etc., etc. Dave is 
very desirous of having the Piutes in all parts of Nevada 
notified to come to the reservation, and help build it up. 
He claims that in one year's time they will have room and 
work for them, and they can come there and build a home. 
He is also very anxious that the whiskey traffic among them 
be stopped, and to that end asks that the officers in every 
town will see that a drunken Indian be punished as 
severely as possibly. This, he claims, is a terrible curse 
among them, and is gaining ground." 

No newspaper in San Francisco would publish this state- 
ment, and they were obliged to have it done in Reno, 
Nevada, in a paper the civilized world knows nothing of. 
I will only speak now of the character of " Captain Dave." 
I said Mr. Batemann hired an Indian to frighten Mr. 
Balcom away. That Indian was this very " Captain Dave." 
I have known him many years, and have always been 
ashamed of him as a Piute. Twenty years ago I knew him 
to blow a young girl's brains out because she refused to 
marry him, and his behavior ever since has been in keep- 
ing with that. It is no secret among my people that he 
exposes his wife to bad white men for money. He is not 
a " leading man." No man can be a leading man among 
Indians, unless he is honorable and brave. Dave is neither. 
On the contrary, he has no character whatever, and could 
always Ipe hired to do a wicked thing. He is my own 

Mr. Mushrush, the farmer spoken of in the printed article, 
does all his farming in the bar-room at Wadsworth. We 
have a store at this agency kept by Mr. Eugene Griswold. 
He is the man who always gets the beef contracts. It may 
be in another man's name sometimes, but it is all the same. 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes, 99 

It has always been a mystery to me what this beef contract 
is for. If they mean it for a license to sell beef, why don't 
they say so ? I defy them to find a man, woman, or child 
outside their ring who has ever received a pound of meat 
of any kind from them. I have a brother who lives on the 
agency, and he has never got an ounce of meat that he has 
not paid for. The contractors, Griswold, McMasters, etc., 
really keep a butcher's shop, but call it a beef contract. 
Those that have money can come up and buy. Those that 
have none stand back and cry, often with hunger. 

All this refers to the Pyramid Lake Agency. The con- 
tractors call it the " Nevada Agency." 

Brother and I started for Camp McDermitt, Nevada, at 
the time set, along with company M, First Cavalry. It took 
us twenty-eight days to reach Camp McDermitt. Nothing 
happened during our journey. We reached the camp late 
in the evening. Brother and I did not see anybody until 
the next day. After we had something to eat in the morn- 
ing the commanding officer. Major Seward, sent for us to 
come to his office. We did so. He was a very nice man. 
He said to brother, " Are you tired ? " Brother said, " Not 
much. I guess my sister is." He said to me, " You find 
it pretty hard travelling, don't you." I answered, " It is 
pretty hard, it is so very warm." He said to my brother 
Natchez, " Do you think you can find your father, or don't 
you think you can get him and his people to come to this 
place ? I would like to have him come, so he can be taken 
care of. He is too old to be out in this bad country. If 
Gen. Crook should find him and his people, he might make 
him some trouble. The white settlers are talking very 
badly through the whole country, and they have sent for 
Gen. Crook to come and kill all the Indians that are not 
on some reservation. I am afraid to have your father out 
there. Natchez, if you can bring him in, I will feed him 

Digitized by 


100 Life Among the Piutes, 

and his people, and will give them clothes, such as the 
soldiers wear. I will be, his friend and fight for him if he 
and his people are good." I said, " Colonel, my good 
papa has never done anything unkind to the white people 
yet, and the soldiers came to Muddy Lake and killed a 
great many of our people there without our doing any bad 
thing to them. They killed my little brother. This is 
what drove my poor papa away ; we have not seen him for 
two years." Brother then said, " Yes, colonel, it is too bad 
the way the white people say all the time that Indians are 
bad, and that they have bad hearts, and that their hearts 
are very black. Colonel, if you will give me your heart and 
hand, I will go and try to get my father to come to you." 

" Yes, Natchez, I will do everything I have told you. I 
will send one company of cavalry with you. Your sister 
can stay here, and talk for those that are already here. She 
shall be my interpreter, and I will pay her sixty-five dollars 
per month, and I will pay you five dollars a day while you 
are away." 

Brother said, " Colonel, I don't want to have any soldiers 
go with me. I will go all alone, because my people will 
think I have brought soldiers to fight them. For fear they 
will think so, I will go alone. I will find my father sooner 
by going alone \ for I will make the son's signal-fire as I go 
along, and my father will know it is I who is coming to see 
him (the signal-fires are like so many telegraphs of many 
kinds and orders), and he will come to meet me. And 
colonel, you will take good care of my sister. See that no 
soldiers talk to her, and colonel, I want you to give me a 
paper to tell the white people I meet who I am, so they will 
not kill me. You know, colonel, the white men like to kill 
us Indians." 

The colonel said, " All right, Natchez, I will give you a 

Digitized by 


Reservation of Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. loi 

So the talk ended. My brother was to go in the morn- 
ing. The colonel said, " We will go now and see the pris- 
oners. I have twenty-five Queen's River Piutes here 
already." As we walked along he said, — 

" They are very good Indians. They are always ready 
to do whatever I tell them to do that is in the line of work. 
You will see that I have given them such clothes as I give 
my soldiers, but the women and children I can't do much 
for, because the government does not give me anything for 
them. But we will see what can be done for them after 
your father comes in, and when your sister gets rested, she 
may be able to do something for them." We got to the 
camp at last. They all ran out of their tents to see us. 
The men ran to brother, saying, "My brother, oh, my 
brother !" They threw their arms round him, calling him 
many endearing words. Then they would throw their robes 
down on the ground for him to sit upon. They had not 
said a word to me until my brother told theni I was his 
sister. Then they held out their hands to me, saying, 
" Our sister, we are glad to see you too. Oh, how kind of 
you to come and see us so far away." Then the women 
came to me cr}dng, and said the same, " Our sister, we are 
glad to see you. Oh, how kind of you to come and see us 
so far away." It is the way we savages do when we meet 
each other ; we cry with joy and gladness. We told the 
officer to go, — we would come back soon. We would be 
ready at seven o'clock. Our people said many beautiful 
things about their black-clothes" fathers. They should 
have said blue-clothes. They said, " We are getting plenty 
to eat, and we men get nice clothes to wear, and we do 
very little work for the clothes. All the work we do is only 
child's play. We would do more if they would only ask us 
to. We are as happy as we can be." Brother said, " I am 
so glad, my people, to hear you say so, because I was going 

Digitized by 


102 Life Among the^Piutes. 

to leave my poor sister here all alone with the soldiers. I 
was afraid they mfght abuse her." Then some of the 
women said to me, " Oh, dear, you can stay with us ; -we 
will make you a nice place." I said, " Oh, brother, why 
can't I stay here with our own people ? I will be so happy 
here with the girls." 

" Oh, yes ! Stay here with us, we will have such a good 

Brother told them he was going to see his father, and try 
to get him to come and live there with them. 

They all said, " How nice that will be ! " 

Some of the old men said, " Oh, if he could only forget 
the wrong that the white men did to him. But of course he 
cannot forget it. Oh, it is hard how the white people are 
treating us. We cannot help it, we have to stand it like a 
little mouse under a cat's paws. They like to see us suffer, 
and they laugh at us when we weep; but our soldier- 
fathers are good ; we will go with you to get your father. 
We can tell him how kind the soldiers are to us." 

While the talk was going on, a soldier came and said 
that the commanding officer wanted us. Brother told the 
commanding officer he wanted five men to go with him in 
the morning. I was afraid. I said to brother, " Can't I 
stay here while you go and see what he wants with us } " 
He went up. It was lunch time. After lunch brother told 
the commanding officer that he had heard something good 
about him and his men. He answered, *' I am glad of it." 
Brother told him he would take five men with him to speak 
for him. " I think I shall have no trouble," he said, " in get- 
ting my father to come." The officer said, " All right, 
Natchez ; you want six horses, then." So next morning very 
early they started out and left me alone. I felt so badly, 
and I cried so much, that my eyes were all swelled up. I 
could not eat anything. After my brother had gone, I went 

Digitized by 


Reservation af Pyramid and Muddy Lakes. 103 

to the commanding officer, and said, " Colonel, I am here 
all alone with so many men, I am afraid. I want your pro- 
tection. I want you to protect me against your soldiers, 
and I want you to protect my people also ; that is, I want 
you to give your orders to your soldiers not to go to my 
people's camp at any time, and also issue the same order 
to the citizens." Accordingly the order was issued, and 
posted here and there, and the result was that we lived in 
peace. Soon after this my brother found and persuaded 
my father and four hundred and ninety of my people to 
come into Camp McDermitt. On their arrival they were 
kindly received by the commanding officer. Clothing such 
as the soldiers wear was given to them, and rations were 
also issued, — good bread, coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, pork, 
beef, and beans. So we lived quietly for two years. One 
night a man named Joe Lindsey crawled into our camp. 
It was reported by one of my men to the commanding 
officer, who had him arrested and confined that night, and 
the next day he was released with the understanding that 
he would leave the reservation. Nothing of importance 
occurred for three weeks, when a soldier who had been 
fishing, and having drank more than was good for him, 
staggered through our camp, and although he troubled no 
one he was corrected and tied up by the thumbs all day, 
and then placed in the guard-house all night. I tell this to 
show what is done to any one who violates the orders 
given by officers of the army. The following winter the 
man Lindsey came back with the express purpose of killing 
the Indian who reported him. He met him in the post- 
traders' store. There were several white men in the store 
at the time. The Indian could not understand English, so 
did not know that they were planning to kill him. After 
some talk, Lindsey said, "I'll bet the whiskey for the 
crowd that I can shoot his eye out." Some one took the 

Digitized 'by 


I04 Life Among the Piutes. 

bet, and without any more delay, he turned round and shot 
him just below the eye. He then coolly pulled out his 
knife and scalped him and put the scalp in his pocket, got 
on the stage and went to Winnemucca, eighty-five miles ; 
then went from saloon to saloon calling for drinks, and 
offering to pay for them with a scalp of a good Indian — 
a dead one. His partner put the body of the unfortunate 
Indian in the trader's buggy, and tried to hide it ; but the 
beautiful white snow was too pure to hide the cowardly 
deed. His blood could be seen for miles and miles, and 
so we tracked thfem and brought the body back ; and such 
a time as I had to keep my people quiet ! Early the next 
morning the warriors assembled, determined to begin a war 
to the death. I talked and reasoned for hours, and at last 
persuaded them to go to their camps. Every effort was 
made by the commanding officer. Major Seward, to bring, 
those " hard-working, honest, and kind-hearted settlers " to 
trial, but in vain. All that could be done was done. Their 
den was broken up, and shortly after this very gang had 
the audacity to put in a bill of damages against the govern- 
ment, because the commanding officer had their cabin torn 
down and moved away. 

Digitized by 




In 1875 I was in Camp Harney, Oregon, to see my father. 
It was in May. I had not been there but a little while 
when my brother Lee came from the Malheur Agency, 
bringing me a letter from the agent, Mr. Parrish, inviting 
me to come to Malheur Agency, and act as his interpreter 
to my people. After I read the letter, I told my father I 
should not like to go there ; but my brother Lee would 
not hear to my refusing. Then I asked my father if he 
would go with me. He said, " Yes, dear child, I will go 
with you.** So we got ready very early one morning, for 
we wished to make it in one day. It was fifty miles east 
of Camp Harney. We travelled all day, and got to the 
Malheur Agency late. Mr. Parrish was very glad to see us. 
He gave me a very nice little room to live in, and said he 
would pay me forty dollars per month to talk for him. I 
took that offer, for I had no other way of making a living 
for myself. The army had no more prisoners, and thefe- 
fore they could not give me a place to interpret for them, 
so I went to work. My people, who had been under the 
other agent's care, did not know how to work. This reser- 
vation in Oregon was set apart for my people in 1867. I 
am quite sure there had been one agent before Mr. Par- 
rish, and that he went to stealing too badly. His inter- 
preter, my cousin, jA^hose name is Jarry, reported his doings 
to the officers at Port Harney, in Oregon. So Col. Otis 


Digitizedt)y VjOOQIC 

io6 Life Among the Piutes. 

sent some of his soldiers under a lieutenant, with direc- 
tions to go there and stay and watch him. They had not 
been there but a month or two when the lieutenant went 
to the agent, and said, " I want to buy some clothes for my 
men," So the agent sold him and his men some flannel 
shirts at the rate of three dollars apiece ! This was re- 
ported to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. So you see 
the soldiers are our friends at all times. After the agent 
was discharged, Mr. Parrish came to take care of my peo- 
ple, and then my poor cousin Jarry was taken sick with 
sore eyes, and my brother Natchez sent him to San Fran- 
cisco^ to be under a doctor's care. So Mr. Sam Parrish 
had no interpreter at the time he sent for me. Then he 
and I called my people to his office, and he began to talk 
to them about work. First he said, — 

" Now you are my children. I have come here to do 
you good. I have not come here to do nothing ; I have no 
time Lo throw away. I have come to show you how to 
work, and work we must. I am not like the man who has 
just left you. I can't kneel down and pray for sugar and 
flour and potatoes to rain down, as he did. I am a bad 
man ; but I will try and do my duty, and teach you all how 
to work, so you can do for yourselves by-and-by. We must 
work while the government is helping us, and learn to help 
ourselves. The first thing I want you to do is to make a 
dam and then dig a ditcji. That is to irrigate the land. 
Some of you can dig the ditch, some can build the dam, 
some can go to the woods and cut rails to build fences. I 
want you all to work while the government is helping us, 
for the government is not always going to help us. Do all 
you can until you get helped, and all you raise is your own 
to do with as you like. The reservation is all yours. The 
government has given it all to you and your children. I 
will do more. I will build a school-house, and my brother's 

Digitized by 


The Malkeur Agency. 107 

wife will teach your children how to read like the white 
children. I want three young men to learn to be black- 
smiths, and three to learn to be carpenters. I want to 
teach you all to do like white people. You see the poor 
white man has no one to help him. He gets some land 
and he works it as best he can. Now you see the govern- 
ment is good to you. It gives you land for nothing, and 
will give you more — that is, it will give you clothes, and a 
store, arid I want you, chiefs of the Piutes, to ask all your 
people to come here to make homes for themselves.^ Send 
out your men everywhere, and have them come to this 
place. This is the best place for you all, and as soon as 
we get started, I will write to your father in Washington, 
to send us a mill to grind our grain. We will raise a little 
something this summer. We can plant some potatoes 
and turnips and watermelons. We will not plant wheat, 
because we have no mill ; but we can raise barley and 

My father said to his people, " What do you all think of 
what this man, our new father, says ? " 

The sub-chief, Egan, said : " For my part I think it is 
very good, if he will only carry it out. There has been 
so much said that has never been fulfilled by our other 
agent. But we have no other way only to do what we are 
told to do. Oytes, you have your men." 

" I have my men, and our father Winnemucca has his," 
said Oytes. " I am not going to work. I and my men 
have our own work to do, — that is, to hunt for our children. 
You all know we don't get enough to eat." 

Of course I told Mr. Parrish everything each of the sub- 
chiefs said, and so did my father. 

Mr. Parrish said, " All right, Oytes, — you can do just as 
you like." 

My father got up and said : " My son Natche? s^ys if 

Digitized by 


io8 Life Among tfie Piutes. 

we do not do as we are told by the white people, we will 
not get along at all. My children are talking for you all, 
and they tell us just what our white fathers say. We will 
all work at whatever our white 'father says we must work 

Egan said, " Yes, we will work. I and my men will go 
into the timber and cut rails." 

" My father said, " I will take the rest of the men to go 
to work upon the ditch." 

One of the men belonging to Oytes, said, "We will 
work ; let this man go." H« meant Oytes, who was always 
getting us into trouble. So my people went to work with 
good heart, both old men and young women and children* 
We were as happy as could be. They worked ^^^^ days, 
when Mr. Parrish told me to go and call them in. I did 
as he told me, and they all came in. He told me to tell 
them how glad he was to see them so willing to do as he 
had told them. He said, " I don't like to see the old men 
and the women work, and they must not do it. The men 
are too old, and the women must not work in the field like 
the men. They can work in another way. They can cook 
for their husbands, and have their meals ready at noon 
and at supper and early in the morning." But the old 
men would not mind ; they worked on with the rest of the 
men. My people got flour, and beef, and sometimes beans. 
As for myself, I had to pay for my board, as I was making 
a great deal of money ; that is, I was making forty dollars 
a month. At that time I only paid fifteen dollars a month. 
The ditch was getting finished. It was two and a half 
miles long and ten feet wide, and they were getting it 
through nicely. They were only six weeks at it. This is 
quite a contrast to our Pyramid Lake Reservation. They 
only got three miles of ditch on that reservation, which is 
twenty-three years old. They have been building a dam 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency, 109 

and a ditch all this time. There have been twelve differ- 
ent agents there during that time, who taught them noth- 
ing. When my people had finished the work Mr. Parrish 
gave them to do at the Malheur, he sent for Egan to come 
in with his men. They came two days' after. The next 
day Mr. Parrish sent for all the rest to come. They did 
so, and after they had sat down and smoked, he said to 
me, — 

" Sarah, you may tell your people that I am glad to see 
them so willing to work ; your other agent told me that you 
would not work, that you were lazy." My father broke out 
laughing ; they all laughed and said : " What can they ex- 
pect from women who have never been taught to work ? " 
Our father, Parrish, went on talking, and said : " All my 
people say that you won't work ; but I will show them that 
you can work as well as anybody, and if you go on as we have 
started, maybe the Big Father at Washington will now give 
us a mill to grind our corn. Do all you can, and I know 
government will help you. I will do all I can while I am 
with you, I am going to have a school-house put up right 
away, so that your children can go to school, and, after you 
have cut your hay, you can go out hunting a little while 
and get some buckskins ; I know you would like that." 

My father said to his people, " Now, don't you think this 
is the best father we ever had in all our lives ? " One and 
all of them said ; " Yes, and we are all ready to do what he 
wants us to." So they all went to him and shook his 
hands, and his brother's hands, too, Charley Parrish, and 
he has a lovely wife. Mrs. Parrish is dearly beloved by my 
people and myself. She is a beautiful lady as well as a 
good one. Oh, if they had staid with us for five or six 
years, my poor people would not have suffered so much, 
and those who have been frozen to death would be living 

Digitized by 


no Life Among the Piuies, 

Now we wanted a road, because our flour must be hauled 
here for the winter. My people went to work with good 
heart^; in this way we lived for five months. We were 
happy and contented. In the month of September we had 
some visitors. They were Columbia River Indians, and 
they came to trade with my people every summer. They 
said, " We come to trade with you for your furs and your 
buckskins. We will give you horses for them." 

My people said they would ask their father before they 
would trade with them. The Columbia River Indians were 
angry at this, and went off. These Indians knew the value 
of the furs. They did not want our white father to know 
about their trading with us. The Indian who said he 
would not work (Oytes) went off with them, and they 
stopped about thirty miles away. Then the Columbia 
River Indians gave Oytes three horses, telling him to come 
back, and get some of his men to come and trade with 
them ; they would wait there for them. So Oytes came 
back, and told our people to go with him to the Columbia 
River Indians and trade. He said : " Take everything ; 
your furs, and blankets, and buckskins, too." 

My father and Sub-chief Egan came to me and said : 
" We have come to tell our father, Parrish, what Oytes is 
doing. He wants us to go to those bad Indians and trade 
with them." Egan said, " Yes, they are our enemies, and 
we must not have them coming here, for they will bring us 
trouble. We are afraid of Oytes ; he is a very bad man." 
I told Mr. Parrish everything that father and Egan had said 
about Oytes. Our good white father said the same thing 
as my father did. He said the Columbia River Indians 
were always making trouble, and it was best that they should 
never come to the reservation at all. Father and Egan 
said, " Our good father, we are afraid of Oytes, because he 
says he can make us all die here. Last winter we had 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency. 1 1 1 

some kind ot sickness, and a great many of our children 
died. He said it was he who was making us sick, and he 
told us to pay him, or else we would all die. Every one of 
us paid him, but a great many died anyhow." 

" Well, I will talk to Oytes ; you must not be afraid of 
him ; I will see to him," Mr. Parrish said. 

He told Egan to tell Oytes to come over, but while my 
father and Egan were talking with our agent, Oytes took 
thirty men off with him to the Columbia River Indians. 

Everything went along very nicely, and Oytes came back 
with his men about twenty-one days afterwards. Our 
agent sent for them all to come to him. After my people 
gathered together, he got up and said : — 

" Now, my children, I am glad that you have been so 
obedient. You have all done well but one, and I am sorry 
for him, out I think he will be good also. I know he will 
be ashamed of himself by-and-by." 

" I want the men who cut the hay to come and stand on 
one side." They did so, six in number. "Now those 
that cut grain." There were ten of them. " Now there 
are two stacks of hay. How many stacked the small 
stack?" "Two." "And the big stack?" "Four." 
"All right. The small stack will be mine. I have two 
horses, and I will pay you for that stack. The big one is 
yours. There are six horses and two mules that work 
for you, and if it is a hard winter you can feed your ponies, 
too. And I win also pay for part of the grain. I want 
you all to understand me. The two horses are mine, and 
the six horses and two mules are yours. The government 
has given them to you. That is why I will pay you for 
what you cut, and the money I give for the grain I will 
give to your two chiefs; that is, to your father Winne- 
mucca, and to Egan." He stopped and asked, " Is that all 
right ? " My people, one and all, said, " Yes, all right." 

Digitized by 


112 Life Among the Piutes, ^ 

He then asked the two men how many days they took to 
cut and stack the hay. The men said eight days. " Very- 
well, I will pay you one dollar a day. Now I want to tell 
you something more. If you work for me or any of nny 
men, we are to pay you for it. If you cut or pile wood, we 
will pay you for it. If I send you to Canyon City for my- 
self or my men, you shall be paid for it" 

He asked them if they liked his law. They all got up 
and said, "Truckee, Truckee." That means very well, 
very well. Then he paid eight dollars apiece to the two 
men for the hay, and gave my father twenty dollars and 
the same to Egan. He then said, "How many of you 
want to go out hunting?" They said, "We would all like 
to go." 

" Well, you can go, and don't stay too long, because your 
potatoes will be ready to be dug." So he gave each man 
a can of powder and some lead and caps, and also to each 
one a sack of flour. Oh, how happy my people were ! 
That night we all got together and had a dance. We were 
not so happy before for a long time. All the young people 
went on the hunt, and the old staid and drew their rations 
right along. The carpenter went on with the school-house 
till he had to stop on account of having no lumber to go 
on with. At last my people came in with their ponies 
laden with dried venison. My father did not come in. He 
sent word by Egan to me that he would go to Pyramid 
Lake Reservation to see the rest of our people there. So 
I was left all alone. I felt very badly because he went 
away. I was afraid of Oytes, J don't know why. Oytes 
did not get any powder to go hunting with. Some of his 
men gave him some after they all got in. Mr. Parrish told 
me to tell all my people to come ne:jct day to get their ra- 
tions. While I was there, talking to Egan, Oytes came and 
said, " I want you to talk to your father, as you call him. 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency 113 

Tell him I and my men are going to live with our broth- 
ers; that is, the Columbia River Indians. I cannot call 
that white man my father. My father was black, like my- 
self, and you are all white but me, and, therefore, tell him 
I quit my country." 

I said to Egan, " I will go." Egan said, " I will go with 
you." When we had got over the river we looked back 
and saw Oytes coming, I said to Egan, " I am so afraid 
of that man." "Oh," he said, "he is nobody. Don't 
you mind him. If he can make you afraid of him that is 
all he wants, but if you are not afraid of him he will be 
one of the best men you ever saw. We will tell our agent 
what he said to us." Oytes came riding fast, and overtook 
us. " You are our good teacher ; don't you think our 
agent has treated me badly, and do you blame me for 
wanting to go away ? " I said, " Oytes, I have lived a long 
time with the white people, and I know what they do. They 
are people who are very kind to any one who is ready to do 
whatever they wish. You see the agent is kind to all but 
you. Why, can you tell me ? " I said to him. He said, 
" I don't know." " You want me to tell you ? " He would 
not say, and I would not tell him until he said he knew 
why. We got off our horses and went in to talk with our 
agent. I told him everything that Oytes had said. Our 
good white father said to Oytes, " I am heartily sorry that 
you have such a bad heart. Let me tell you, Oytes, if you 
want to get your young men into trouble, you can. I have 
not come here to make you do what you don't want to do. 
I came to tell you all that government is willing to do for 
you, and if you will not do it I cannot help you. I have 
men here to teach you all how to work, and now you want 
to take your men away with those bad Columbia River In- 
dians. TTiey are just like you. They don't want to work 
like other people. Now the sooner you go the better. I 
don't want to say anything more to you. Gc, rxw." 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

114 Life Among the Piutes. 

After he was gone, Mr, Parrish said to Egan, " You will 
all get your rations, and day after to-morrow is Sunday. 
On Monday I want you all to come here. We will dig our 
potatoes, and some of you must make a place to put them 
in." On Monday came men, women, and children, and 
they went to work to dig potatoes, and everything was put 
away for winter. They were told to come and get their 
potatoes whenever they wanted to, and soon my people 
were called again. This time women and children were to 
come too. What a beautiful time we had all day long 
issuing clothing to all, *— ten yards of calico to every woman, 
ten yards of flannel for underwear, and unbleached muslin 
also to every woman. Pantaloon goods were given to the 
boys, handkerchiefs, shoes, stockings, shawls, and blankets. 
Men got shirts, pants, hats, looking-glasses and shoes; 
some red shirts, some got red blankets, some white. They 
got whatever color they liked. , It was the prettiest issue I 
had ever seen in m; 'ife, or have' seen since. Everybody 
got something but two, — one man and one woman. He 
would look at me and smile, but he did not say anything 
till it was all over. Mr. Parrish did not say anything to 
him. Everybody was gone but Oytes and myself. He 
came to me and said, " You and I are two black ones. We 
have not white fathers* lips." J said, " No, we are two bad 
ones. Bad ones don't need any pity from any one." He 
laughed and went away. That same night my cousin came 
over and said, "03rtes is coming over to kill our agent. 
We have said everything to him ; we have given him our 
blankets, but that won't do. What will we do ? " I said, 
" We will tell Mr. Parrish." So I ran and told him, and 
he told his brother and all his men, six altogether, and 
three women, the doctor's wife, C. W. Parrish's wife, and her 
servant girl, and three children, twelve white persons, among 
seven hundred Indians to come. Our good agent sent for 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency, 1 1.5 

Oytes to come over the next morning. Egan brought him, 
and Mr. Parrish said to him, " Oytes, I have three hundred 
dollars. If you will let me shoot at you, if my bolt won't 
go through your body the money is yours. You say bolts 
cannot kill you." Our agent shook him, and Oytes cried 
out, " Oh, my good father, don't kill me. Oh, I am so bad. 
Oh, I will do everything you say. I never will say no to 
anything you will say. I will do just as my men are doing. 
I will not go away if you will forgive me." Our agent said, 
** All right, Oytes ; don't let me hear any more of your 
talk, do you hear } You shall not fool with me, and don't 
say any more to your own people." " No, good father, I 
will not say anything more." So they shook hands, and 
were good friends afterwards. Our good agent gave him 
a red blanket, and red shirts and hat, and pants and shoes. 
He gave him everything he could think of, and told him to 
give back all the things belonging to his people. So we 
got along happily afterwards, and Oytes was the first one 
to be ready with his men when our agent wanted work 
done. We were all good friends, and our agent liked my 
people, and my people loved him. All his men were good 
men. My people did some work during the winter. 
There were three miles of a ditch to make, and they all 
worked on it. There was only half a mile to be finished, 
when a very long letter came one day, and Mr. Parrisk 
called all the men to come in the evening. He told us 
that we bad two hundred and ninety-two enemies in Canyon 
City. He said the name of the captain of these men was 
Judge Curry. This man wanted the west end of our 
reservation, and our Big Father in Washmgton wanted to 
know what we thought about it. " These white men," he 
said, " have talked to your Father in Washington, saying 
that you are lazy, and will not work." Leggins and Egan 
said, " Our Father, you are here to talk for us. Tell our 

Digitized by 


Il6 ' Life Among the Piutes. 

Big Father that we don*t want to give up any of our 
reservation. We want it all. The Pyramid Lake Reser- 
vation is too small for us all, and the white people have 
already taken all the best part of it. We cannot all live 
there, and in case they take it all we can have this to live 
on. There are a great many of our people, and we do not 
want to give up any of our land. Another thing, we do 
not want to have white people near us. We do not want 
to go where they are, and we don't want them to come 
near us. We know what they are, and what they would 
do to our women and our daughters." Our white father 
told us he would write and tell all we said to our Big 
Father in Washington, so we lived along happy all winter. 
At last our school-house was done, and my people were told 
that it was ready, and for the little children to come to 
school. It was the first day of May, 1876, Mrs. Parrish 
was to be teacher, and I was to help her, and get the same 
pay for teaching the children English. I had given up my 
position as interpreter to my cousin Jarry, because he was 
almost blind. I asked Mr. Parrish to give it to him, be-/ 
cause he had a wife and daughter^ and no way of making 
a living for them. So Mr, Parrish sent for him to come 
and take my place. 

On the first of May Mrs. Parrish and I opened the 
school. She had her organ at the school-house, and 
played and sang songs, which my people liked very much. 
The school-house was full, and the windows were thrown 
open, so that the women could hear too. All the white 
people were there to sing for them. I was told to tell the 
children to sing. All of them started to sing as well as they 
could. Oh, how happy we were ! We had three hundred 
and five boys, twenty-three young men, sixty-nine girls, and 
nineteen young women. They learned very fast, and were 
glad to come to school. Oh, I cannot tell or express how 

Digitized by 


Tfte Malheur Agency, 117 

happy we were I Mrs. Parrish, the dear, lovely lady, was 
very kind to the children. We all called her our white lily 

We had not been teaching but about three weeks when 
very bad news came. Our white father, Parrish, told me 
to tell all the people to come to the school-house. They 
all came with sad faces, because I had already told them 
that our white father was going away to leave us. Then 
he told us that he had received a letter from our Big 
Father in Washington, saying another man was to come in 
his place, — a better man than he. " I am sorry to leave 
you," he said, " because I know I can make a good home 
for you. The man who is coming here to take care of you 
all is a good man. He can teach you better things than 
I, and maybe he will do more than I can. You must do 
just as he wants you to do. Go right along just as you 
have done while I was with you. You all know who he is. 
He used to live in Canyon City, and have a store there." 
My people began to say to one another, " We know him, 
then." The mail-carrier said, " I know him, for I know 
he had a stqre there." Egan, the sub-chief, said, — 

" Our Father Says he is going away. Now I have been 
thinking that some of you may have said something against 
our father. You might have done it without thinking that 
something would come of it. You all know that white 
men make a mountain of little things, and some of them 
may have heard something and told it on him." They all 
said, "We have had nothing to say against our father. 
Why should we do so when he has been so good to us ? " 
Oytes got up and said, "We will not let our father go; 
we will fight for him. Why should we let him go ? We 
have not sent for another father to come here. He has 
been doing everything for us, and we have made no com- 
plaints against him. ' We will all stand by him. He has 

Digitized by 



Ii8 Life Among the Piutes, 

taught us how to work, and that 's what we want, and the 
white lily is teaching our children how to talk with the 
paper, which I like very much. I want some of the young 
men to go and tell our father Winnemucca to come here 
as soon as he can. I know he will think as I do/ I say 
once more, we will not let him go." 

I told our agent everything that was said by my people. 
Then he told me to say to them that it was not because he 
had done anything that was not right, that he must go 
away. It was because they said he was not a Christian, 
and all the reservations were to be under the Christian 
men's care. "** Before I go," he said, " I am going to plant 
for you, and help you all I can. I will give Egan and 
Oytes land for peas; Oytes, just on the other side of the 
river for him and his men, and Egan at the Warm Spring, 
which is just half a mile away on the east, and to Jarry 
Lang, and Sarah Winnemucca, and others, on this side of 
the river. Come right along, just as before, and we will 
plant whatever you want for the winter. Your new father 
will not be here until the first of July." He asked each 
one of us what we wanted planted. Egan said, " I want 
potatoes and a little wheat." Oytes said the same. My 
cousins asked me what I wanted. I said, " We have horses 
enough to need oats and barley." 'Mr. Parrish said, " Just 
as you like." I said, " I will have wheat, and you oats, 
and we will have all kinds of vegetables." Then our white 
father said to Egan, " There are eight ploughs. Some of 
your men can help to plough, and we will get everything " . 
in." He also told Egan that he could not keep Jarry any 
longer as interpreter. My cousin was married to Egan^s 
niece, and Mr. Parrish gave me back my place as inter- 
preter. All my people went to work just as before. In a 
very short time everything was put in. 

During that time. Gen. O. O. Howard and his daughter 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency. 119 

and Captain Sleighton came to visit us. We were all very 
glad to see him. He came to see if my people would 
allow him to build a military post at a place called Otis 
Valley, ten miles from the agency. He wanted to move 
Camp Harney to that place. The sub-chief, Egan, said to 
him, " I like all the soldiers very much. We must* see 
first what our brother Winnemucca says. We have sent 
for him, and we look for him every day. When he comes 
he can tell you whether you can build there or not." 
General Howard said, " All right, you can tell Mr. Parrish, 
and he will write to me. I am very glad you are getting 
along so nicely here. I like to see all the Indians get 
along in this way. Go on just as you are doing ; you will 
soon be like the white people." 

Egan got up and said to him, " You are our Big Soldier 
Father. We would like to have you come and see us, and 
see that no bad men come and take away our land. You 
will tell your soldiers to keep them off the reservation." 
He promised he would see to it, and he staid all night. 
The school stopped at this time. Our names were put 
each on our grain-field or garden. My father came and 
told him all, and we went to see the agent. My father 
took his hands in his, and said, "My good father, you 
shall not leave me and my people. Say you will not go." 

He answered : " It is not for mQ to say. I would like to 
stay, but your Big Father in Washington says that I must 
go, and that a better man is coming here. You will like 
him, I know." 

Father said : " I do not want any one but you. I am 
going to see the soldier-father to-morrow., I know they 
will keep you here for me, or I think they can if they wish 

Mr. Parrish said, " They can do nothing against the gov- 

Digitized by 


I20 Life Among the Piutes. 

My father sat a long time without saying a word. 

At last Mr. Parrish said : — 

" Come with me, Winnemucca, I want to give you some 
things. Come with me." So we went to our store-house. 
After we got there father stood in one corner of the room, 
like one that was lost. 

Mr. Parrish said, "What kind of clothes do you want?" 

Father said, *' I don't want anything if you are not going 
to stay with me. I don*t want anything from you, because 
it will make me feel so badly after you are gone." 

It is the way we Indians do. We never keep anything 
belonging to our dearest friends, because it makes us feel 
so badly, and when any of our family die, everything be- 
longing to them is buried, and their horses are killed. 
When my poor mother was yet living every time we went 
near the place where my poor grandfather was buried she 
would weep. I told father the way white people did if they 
were to part for a long time was to give each other some- 
thing to remember each other by, and they would also keep 
another's picture, if he was dead. " Father," I said, "you 
had better take what he gives you, for he will feel badly if 
you don't." So father took everything he gave him, and 
the next morning, father, Egan, Oytes, and myself started 
for Camp Harney, to see the officer there. We arrived at 
Camp Harney, distant fifty miles, at about five o'clock. 
We rode up to the commanding officer's quarters, and I 
said : — 

" Major Green, my father has come to see you, and to 
have a talk with you." " Well, Sarah, tell your father to 
come at ten o'clock to-morrow. Have you a place, to stop 
at while you are here ? " I said, " Yes, I have a lady 
friend here. Father and I can stop with her." 

" And where will those two men stop } " 

I said, " I don't know." " But, let me see," he said, 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency, 121 

" They can stop with ray men. I will will give them a 
note to the sergeant." 

1 then told Egan and Oytes to go to the place, and father and 
I went to Mrs. Kennedy, and she and her husband were 
very glad to see us. I told her all about our trouble at the 
Malheur Agency. In the morning, at the appointed time, 
we went to the office. There were all the officers in wdt* 
ing for us, to hear what father had to say. They thought 
we had come to tell something against our agent, for they 
were the same officers that had the other agent sent away. 
They were all astonished when my father said to Major 
Green : ^- 

" My great soldier-father, I am in great trouble, and 
want you to help me. You can if you will. I come to you 
in my trouble, knowing that you are our best friends when 
I and my people are good. Your soldiers have always 
stood by us. You took us as your prisoners. You know 
how the white people are always saying Indians are bad 
and steal cattle. They tell you these things so you can 
kill us all off. Now they want my reservation. They are 
sending away my agent. My men and I have not sent 
for another agent. We all like our good agent Par- 
rish. We don*t want him to leave us. He gives us every- 
thing we want. He and his men are^all friendly. They 
are teaching us how to work, and our children are learn- 
ing how to read, just like your children. What more do 
we want ? There can be no better man than he, and why 
send him away ? Oh, my good soldier-father, talk on pa 
per to our Big Father in Washington, and tell him not to 
take him away. I tell you I never saw white men like 
them in all my life. I have a reservation at my birth 
place called Pyramid Lake. For so many years not one of 
the agents ever gave me or my people an old rag. I am 
just from there. My people have nothing to live on there 

Digitized by 


122 Life Among the Piutes. 

but what little fish they catch, and the best land is taken 
from them. I saw a great many of my people. They say 
they will come here to make homes for themselves." 

He stopped, and then said : — 

" Will you help me. Major Green ? " 

" I will send all you have said to your father in Wash- 
ington. I am sorry Mr. Parrish is to leave." 

He then asked me all about it. I told him everything 
I knew and our new agent's name. Mr. Parrish called 
him Major Reinhard. 

Major Green told father he would do all he could for 
him and his people. The next morning we went back. 
I told Mr. Parrish what my father said to the officer, and 
he laughed. 

On the twenty-eighth of June, 1876, our new agent, Ma- 
jor Reinhard, arrived. My people were all very sad in- 
deed. Our dear mother, as we called Mrs. Parrish, and 
all the rest, were gone, except Mr. Sam Parrish, our agent. 
He was with us yet with one man, the head farmer, Day- 
man by name. Our agent took Major Reinhard all over 
the place, showed him how he had got us fixed, showed him 
where the field of each one was. Our agent had had our 
names written on boards to show who the fields belonged 
to. After he had shown him all our gardens, he took him 
to our store-house, told him all the goods were to be issued 
right away. He said, " I w^as going to issue now, because 
I have not done it this spring. Some of the goods for this 
year's issue have not come yet. I have sent for coats and 
pants and hats, so the men need not wear blankets while 
they are working." He said to Major Reinhard, " These 
Indians are very good to work. They are always ready to 
do whatever I tell them to do. They are honest and 
will do what they can." He also told him how often he 
issued rations. After he had .turned everything over 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency. . 123 

to the new agent, he was going to leave. At the dinner 
Mr. Parrish said to the new agent : " Sarah has; nice fields 
of wheat, and the next field to hers is Jerry Lang's ; his 
field has oats." Mr. Reinhard did not say anything. Af- 
ter dinner, Mr. Parrish, who is dearly loved by my people, 
went away. That was the last my people saw of him. 
Two days afterwards, that is the thirtieth of June, Major 
Reinhard *s men came, — two men called Johnson, broth- 
ers. L. Johnson had a family. One came as school- 
teacher,- and the one with a family was blacksmith. They 
were the poorest-looking white people I ever saw. The 
two men did not have decent pants, but the next day I saw 
them with new ones such as Mr. Parrish gave to my peo- 
ple, and a woman came to me and asked me if I had any 
dress goods. I asked her what kind of dress goods she 
wanted. She said calico, and I sold her ten yards to make 
her a dress. Then came the farmer ; his family name was 
Howell ; then the clerk, our agent's nephew, and then the 
agent's family. In a few days they were all well clothed/ 
men, women, and children. - 

I was now all alone, as my father left the next day after 
Mr. Parrish went away. One day Egan and Oytes came to 
me and said, " We know this man who is going to be our 
father. He is a bad man. He used to be over at Canyon 
City. He has sold me many bottles of firewater." " Yes," 
said 0)rtes, " we know him well." Just then he came along 
towards us. He held out his hand to the two sub-chiefs, 
and said, " How do you do ? " He said to me, " Sarah, 
tell them I want them to come to me to-morrow. I want 
to have a talk with them. Tell them to tell old Winne- 
mucca to come, too." I said, " My father is gone." 
"Where is he gone ?" " To Pyramid Lake Reservation." 
" Will he be back soon ? " "I don't know, sir." 

Next morning Egan and Oytes came with their men. 

Digitized by 


124 ^tf^ Among the Piutes. 

" Now, Sarah," he said, " tell your people that the Big 
Father in Washington has sent me here. He told me how 
I must make you all good people. This land which you 
are living on is government land. If you do well and are 
willing to work for government, government will give you 
work. Yes, government will do more than that. It will 
pay you one dollar per day ; both men and women will get 
the same. Boys who can do a day's work will get the 
same. This is what the Big Father in Washington told me 
to tell you." 

All the time he was talking, my people hung their heads. 
Not one looked at him while he talked. He stopped talk- 
ing. My people passed some jokes, and laughed at him 
because he was trembling as if he was afraid. ' Egan said 
to Oytes, " You had better talk to your father. I don't 
want to talk to such a man." Oytes said, ** I am not a boy, 
I am a man. I am afraid he will die if I talk to him." 
I said, " Say something to him." Then Egan got up and 
said, " Our father, we cannot read ; we don't understand 
anything ; we don't want the Big Father in Washington to 
fool with us. He sends one man to say one thing and an- 
other to say something else. The man who just left us 
told us the land was ours, and what we do on it was ours, 
and you come and say it is government land and not ours. 
You may be all right. We love money as well as you. 
It is a great deal of money to pay ; there are a great many 
of us, and when we work we all work." 

Our Christian agent got mad and said, " Egan, I don't 
care whether any of you stay or not. You can all go away 
if you do not like the way I do." 

" Our good father does not understand me. I did not 
say I would not work." 

Oytes said, " Don't say any more ; we will all go to work, 
and then see how much he will pay us." Then the agent 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency. 125 

said, " When I tell you to do anything I don't want any of 
you to dictate to me, but to go and do it." 

When I told them what he said, they all jumped up and 
went away. The next morning men, women, and boys 
went to work. Some went into the fields to cut the grain, 
some to mow hay, and some to cut rails for fences. Some 
went to cut wood, and some to haul it in. Everybody was 
busy all the week. Saturday, at half past six o'clock, my 
people came right from their work to get their pay, men, 
women, and boys ; thirty-eight women, forty-three boys, and 
nineteen hundred and nine men. We all went to the 
agent's office. I went in first/and said, "All my people 
have come to get their pay." " Well, tell them to come 
in." Then he began to write: Blankets, six dollars; 
coats, six dollars ; pants, five dollars ; shoes, three dollars ; 
socks, fifty cents ; woollen shirts, three dollars , handker- 
chiefs, fifty cents ; looking-glasses, fifty cents ; sugar, three 
pounds for one dollar ; tea, one dollar per pound ; coffee, 
two and a half pounds for one dollar; shawls, six dollars ; 
calico, ten yards for one dollar; unbleached muslin, four 
yards. "The rations they have had are worth about four 
dollars a week, and then they have two dollars left to get 
anything they want out of the storehouse." Some of my 
men said, " Let us go ; why do we fool with such a man ? " 
A good many got up and left. Egan, the sub-chief, got up 
and said, " Why do you want to play with us ? We are 
men, not children. We want our father to deal with us 
like men, and tell us just what he wants us to do ; but 
don't say you are going to pay us money, and then not do 
it. If you had told us you wanted us to work for nothing, 
we would have done it just as well if you had said, * I will pay 
you.' We did not ask you to pay us. It is yourself that 
said you would see that government paid us, and we would 
like to have you pay us as you said. You -did not sey any- 

Digitized by 


126 Life Among the Piutes, 

thing about the clothing nor about what we ate while we 
were working. I don't care for myself, but my men want 
their pay, and they will go on with their work just the 
same. Pay them m money, and then they can go and buy 
whatever they like, because our Big Father's goods are too 
dear. We can go to our soldier-fathers, and get better 
blankets for three dollars than yours." 

He said, " Well, I will give you an order on a store 
in Canyon City which belongs to your Big Father in Wash- 
ington, where you can get nice things." 

Egan got up again and said, " Our good father Sam 
Parrish sent for those things which are in the store for us, 
and you want us to pay you for them. You are all wear- 
ing the clothes that we fools thought belonged to us,' and 
we don't want you to pay anything." 

He turned round to his men and said, "Go home." 
Then our Christian father again forgot himself and said, 
"If you don't like the way I do, you .can all leave here. I 
am not going to be fooled with by you. I never allow a 
white man to talk to me like that." 

My people all went away to their camps. They sent for 
me during the night. I went to see what they wanted with 
me. The head men were all together. Then Egan asked 
me what I thought about our new father. 

I said, " I don't know. What do you think about him ? 
Do you think what he tells us is true ? Are we to lose 
our home ? It looks that way, don't it ? " I said, " I have 
nothing to say. I am only here to talk for you all." 
" What do you think we had better do ? Where shall we 
go ? He tells us all to go away. We have no way of 
getting our living. If he would only give us what we have 
raised, we could live on that this winter." 

Some of the women said, " Oh, our children will surely 
die of hunger." 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency. 127 

I said, " We will wait and see what he will do." 

Oytes said, ** Let us go and tell our soldier-fathers about 
him ! " 

I said, " No, we must wait." 

The next daywas Sunday, and there was nothing to do. 
Some of my people came to make a home with us who were 
never on the reservation before. I went to them, and they 
said, — 

" We have come to make a home with you. We heard 
that your white father was so good to all, so we thought we 
would come here." 

I said, " Our good father has gone away, and there is 
another one here, and I don't know what he is going to do 
for us." 

They said, " We have nothing to eat." 

I said, " To-day is the day when people don't work. It 
is called Sunday. It is the day when the white people talk 
with the Spirit-Father, and the agent told me to tell my 
people never to come for anything on Sunday. To-morrow 
is ration-day. I will go and see him, anyhow." 

I went to him and said, "Mr. Reinhard, some of my 
people have come here to nfake a home with us. They 
were never here before. They say they have nothing to 
eat. This is why I came to speak to you. Excuse me for 
coming on Sunday to tell of my people's wants." 

He told me to say to them that he was not going to issue 
any more rations to them. 

I said, " Very well, I will tell them." 

I went and got my horse and told one of my cousins to 
saddle it while I went to tell J any, my cousin, my father's 
sister's son. Our agent and he were talking about me. I 
heard him say, " I shall have her go away, and if you want 
to be my friend, I will give you a good living if you will do 
as I want you to." 

Digitized by 


128 Life Among the PiiUes, 

I heard my cousin say, " I will do whatever you say." 

I did not go in, but went back and got upon my horse 
and went to the Oytes camp, and told them what the agent 
told me to say to them. We all went then to the sub- 
chief's camp and told them. I said, " You can talk it over 
amongst yourselves, and think what it is best to do." 

Egan told some of the young men to go with me and tell 
Jarry to come. Jarry was his son-in-law. After I got 
home, as I was sitting in the doorway, I heard such a 
scream ! I looked round, and to my horror saw our 
agent throw a little boy down on the ground by his ear 
and kick him. I did not go to the rescue of the little boy, 
but sat still. At last the boy broke from him and ran, and 
the agent ran after him round the house. But the little boy 
outran him. He looked over at me and saw me looking 
at him. He then came towards me. I hung my head, and 
did not look up. He said, " Sarah, that little devil laughed 
at me, because I asked him to go and tell Jarry that I 
wanted him to come to my house. I will b6at the very life 
out of him. I won*t have any of the Indians laughing at 
me. I want you to tell them that they must jump at my 
first word to go. I don't waftt them to ask why or what 
for. Now, do you understand what I am saying .? " I said, 
" Yes, sir, I will tell them." I said, " Mr. Reinhard, that 
little boy* never meant to laugh at you. He thought you 
were saying something nice to him, and another thing, he 
cannot understand the English language* I am your in- 
terpreter. Whatever you say to me I am always ready to 
do my duty as far as it goes." After he went away my 
cousin Jarry came to me and said, " Sister, I don't think it 
right that you should always tell everything to our people." 
I said, " Dear brother, I have not told anything but what I 
was told to tell them." 

We Indians always call our cousins brother and sister, 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency, 129 

just as if they were our own fathers' sons and daughters. 
Although we are savages, we love one another as well as 
the fairest of the land. My cousin said, " My father-in-law 
and all the men are coming to talk to the agent, and don*t 
you say a word.*' I said, "Very well." "They are going 
to ask him for the grain, but don't tell anybody about 
Reinhard's doings. What do we care whether he gives 
our people anyth ng or not, so long as he ^ives us some- 
thing to live on ? What do you think our people care for 
us ^ Let them go wherever they like." 

I said, " Dear brother, I am ashamed of you, you talk so 
heartlessly. I am going to see my people dealt rightly by, 
and to stand by them, and I am going to talk for them just 
as long as I live. * If you want to see your people starve, 
that is your own business. I am going to see that they get 
their wheat, and I am going to get mine too ; that is, if he 
will give it to us. I am here to work for my people, and 
T am going to my work." Just then the mother of the 
little boy came crying as if her heart would break. " Oh, 
my poor child," she was saying, "he will die, — the only 
child I have left out of four." 

I said nothing. I was feeling badly for the little boy 
and his mother, too. Jarry asked her what was the matter. 
She told him all, and said the little boy's ear was swelling 
badly, and it was black and the boy would not speak. 
" Oh, I am so afraid he is going to die. I have come to see 
if the white doctor will come and do something for him." 
I said, " Come with me, " and went for the doctor. There 
were a great many there to see the boy. Two sub-chiefs 
were there, and Oytes was laying hands on him as we got 

I said, " Here is the white doctor ; maybe he can do 
something for him." 

Egan said, " No ; the white people hate us ; he might 

Digitized by 


130 Life Among the Piutes, 

poison him." His whole head and face and neck were 

I said, " They don't want you to do anything for him." 
The doctor asked me what was the matter with him. I did 
not say anything, for he knew well enough what it was. 
He asked again. 

I said, " You know ; why do you ask ? You saw your 
Christian and your praying man take him by his^ ear and 
throw him to die ground." He said, " Is that the boy ? " 

This doctor's name is Shoemaker. He lived fat while he 
was there. He had all the fire-water he wanted to drink, 
which was sent there under the pretence that it was sent 
there for the benefit of my sick people. This doctor was 
there when our agent Parrish was still with us. I had a 
room next to the doctor's office, and could hear everything 
that was said in there. 

One morning, just before Mr. Parrish knew fie was go- 
ing away, he came into the office and I heard him say, 
*' Doctor, how much wine and liquor have you on hand ? " 
The doctor said, " 1 have but a very little brandy left, and 
I have not any wine." " Why, doctor, what has become of 
it all ? I had so much of it for my sick Indians ; it was 
here for that purpose, and I know my men don't drink ; if 
I knew they dfd I would not have them stay here." The 
doctor said, " I used the wine for my table, and since the 
wine ran out we had to use the other." "What are you 
going to do if an inspecting officer comes here ? " 

" Oh, well, I will make some more. I have alcohol, and 
I know how to make all kinds of liquor," I heard all 

The next day was ration day. Many of my people came 
to get their rations. I saw our agent Reinhard and Jarry 
going here and there, and talking together. I went to see 
the farmer's wife, who is a dear, good, Christian lady. She 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency, 131 

and her husband and son often said to me, " Our hearts 
ache for your people." She said she should not stay 
there. I told her everything. That afternoon there came 
some more of my people ; among them Was my brother, Lee 
Winnemucca. They had come from Pyramid Lake Res- 
ervation. It was a long way and they were hungry, but I 
could do nothing for them. I had to buy everything I ate, 
and I told them our agent had stopped issuing rations to 
all. Brother said, " Is there anything we can buy ? " I said, 
" Yes, I will go and see him." I went to see him, and 
said to Mr. Reinhard, " My brother Lee is here with ten 
men, and they have nothing to eat. Will you sell some 
flour and other things to them ? " He said, '* Where is 
Johnny ? " That was an Indian boy who could talk a 
little English. I said, "I will go for him." So I ran 
and soon found him, and we went t6 see what the 
agent wanted. He came to meet us and said, " Johnny, 
go and get some beef ; here is the key." Johnny started 
off; he got only a little way when the agent called 
him back, but Johnny kept on. He called him again 
and again, and at last was so angry he ran after 
him. But the boy would not stop. He looked back and 
saw him coming ; he turned round and said these words, 
" What in hell do you want ? " He ran up to him and took 
him by his hair, but the boy was too quick for him and got 
away, the agent after him saying, " Stop, or I will shoot 
you." But Johnny ran all the faster and got away from 
him. I went back to where brother Lee and the rest were 
standing. They all laughed and made all kinds of fun of 
the agent. He came to me and said, ** Sarah, I am going 
to shoot him. He shan't livedo see another day." "Mr. 
Reinhard," I said, " why do you ask me ? Why tell me 
what you are going to do ? " He walked off at that. The 
rest of the white people were looking on. He went to the 

Digitized by 


132 Life Among the Piutes. 

house, got his pistol, aHd came back and said, " Sarah, 
shall I shoot him ? I never had any one* talk to me in that 
way. If a white man talked to me like that, I would kill 
him right off." I said, " You know best what to do." My 
brother then spoke and said, " We have come a long way 
to hear good things from the Good Spirit man. Why talk 
of killing ? Is that the kind of good man Mr. Parrish told us 
of ? Of course, that is the kind of men that are called 
good, — men who talk to the Spirit Father tliree times a day, 
but who will kill us off as they would kill wild beasts." 

Brother stopped at that, and I said, " Brother wants to 
buy some things out of your store." He took us there to 
get the things. As I walked along with him, he said, " Sa- 
rah, I will give the things to your brother, and you take the 
money, for they might think hard of me for it. It is not 
my fault, but the Big Father in Washington tells me to sell 
everything to your people." After we went in I told them 
what he wanted me to do. They all laughed, and I told 
them when they got all the things, to go right to him and 
pay him. Brother bought one dollar's worth of sugar, 
same of coffee, one sack of flour at two dollars. After 
they got all they wanted, Lee went to pay him. He took 
out his money and counted it out to him. When he 
handed it to him he pointed to me. Brother offered me 
the money. I said, " I am not the Big Father in Wash- 
ington. I don't own anything in the store, and why should 
I take the money ? " At this I went out. I heard him 
say to brother, " Lee, you take the things ; it 's all right." 

The same night he took Johnny and put handcuffs on 
him, saying, " I will send you to Camp Harney and have 
the soldiers hang you, for you are a very bad boy." The 
boy did not cry or say anything, but his mother ran in cry- 
ing, and threw her arms round him. She cried so hard I 
said, " Mr, Reinhard, I don't kndw what you are thinking 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency. 133 

of, by the way you are acting. I think you had better let 
him go." Then he took me out and told me that he 
would put him in the store-house and keep him there all 
night, and let him out in the morning. He then took him 
and locked him up. I told his rtiother what he had said. 

The next morning all Egan's and Oytes' men came to 
have a talk with him. Egan said, — 

" My children are dying with hunger. I want what I 
and my people have worked for ; that is, we want the wheat. 
We ask for nothing else, but our agent Parrish told us that 
would be ours." 

The agent said, " Nothing here is yours. It is all the 
government's. If Parrish told you so, he told you lies." 

I spoke up and said : " Mr. Reinhard, why did not you 
tell me right before him when he was telling you about my 
wheat ? If you had then said it did not belong to us, I 
would not have told my people about it. I told them, for 
they asked me if Mr. Parrish said anything about our 

" Why, if you take the government wheat, you rob the 
government," he said. 

I said, " I don't want to rob anybody." 

Jarry, my cousin, was against us, and said we ought to 
be ashamed to talk about anything that did not belong to 

Then Egan got up and said to me, " I want you to tell 
everything I say to this man." 

. I did as he said. 

" Did the government tell you to come here and drive us 
off this reservation ? Did the Big Father say, go and kill 
us all off, so you can have our land ? Did he tell you to 
pull our children's ears off, and put handcuffs on them, 
and carry a pistol to shoot us with ? We want to know how 
the government came by this land. Is the government 

Digitized by 


134 ^if^ Among tttt Piutes. 

mightier than our Spirit-Father, or is he our Spirit- Father? 
Oh, what have we done that he is to take all from us that 
he has given us ? His white children have come and have 
taken all our mountains, and all our valleys, and all our 
rivers ; and now, because he has given us this little place 
without our asking him for it, he sends you here to tell us 
to go away. Do you see that high mountain away off 
there ? There is nothing but rocks there. Is that where 
the Big Father wants me to go ? If you scattered your seed 
and it should fall there, it will not grow, for it is all rocks 
there. Oh, what am I saying t I know you will come and 
say : Here, Indians, go away ; I want these rocks to make 
me a beautiful home with ! Another thing, you know we 
cannot buy. Government gave. We have no way to get 
money. I have had only two dollars, which I gave you for 
a pair of pants, and my son-in-law gave you the same for 
his. That is all the money the government is going to get 
out of me ; and to-morrow I am going to tell the soldiers 
what you are doing, and see if it is all right." 

He sat down. 

Then our agent said, " You had better all go and live 
with the soldiers. What I have told you is true, and if 
you don*t like what the government wants you to do, well 
and good ; if I had it my way I could help you, but I can- 
not. I have to do government's will." 

We started for Camp Harney the next morning, and 
arrived there before evening. The distance is twenty miles. 
We told the commanding officer everything about our 
Christian agent's doings, and he told me to write to Wash- 
ington, and he would do the same. I did as I was told ; 
and when I had written it all the head men of my people 
signed it, and then our Christian agent discharged me from 
my office of interpreter, for reporting to the army officers, 
for which I don't blame him. After he discharged me I 

Digitized by 


The Malheur Agency, -ISS 

staid there three weeks. .While I was still there, he had 
another trouble, with one of my people. He beat an 
Indian man almost to death for no cause whatever. He 
asked him to help him carry a sick woman. The Indian 
was a little too long getting on his moccasins. The agent 
knocked him down with a great stick, and beat him so 
shamefully I ran to him and caught hold of him, saying, 
" Do not beat him so." The man rose up, and as he did 
so, the agent raised the stick again to him. At this the 
Indian took hold of it ; then the agent took out a pistol to 
shoot him ; but white men came to him and said, " Do not 
shoot him." After this, my good friend, Mrs. Howell, went 
away. My cousin, Jarry, had not spoken to me all that 
time, and I too went away, and had to leave my stove, for 
which I had given fifty dollars. Mr. Reinhard used it all 
the time, for which I tried to get paid ; but I had to lose 
it, because he was a Christian man. His men, Frank John- 
son, the school-teacher, and his brother, the blacksmith, 
were the two greatest gamblers that ever lived. They 
played with my people, and won a great many of their 
ponies ; and they kept the interpreter Jarry losing all the 
time. They carried cards wherever they went ; and when 
I was going away, Mr. Reinhard said to me, *' Sarah, I 
want you to give this letter to Mr. Maulrick, and he will 
give Captain Scott whatever he wants out of the store. 
Captain Scott will go with you." 

I said, "All right," and went away; and oh, what a 
wicked thing I did ! I read the letter. It said, " Dear 
friend, as I have promised you, I will send you all the 
Indians. You know you are to pay them not in money but 
in clothes. I have given the bearer of this a thirty-dollar 
check. Write and tell me what kind of clothing you 
give, so that I can report that it has been issued to him." 
I kept the letter, and when we got there I gave the money- 

Digitized by 


136 , Life Among the> Piutes. 

check to him, and he asked me if I wanted anything in his 
store. I said, " I will see afterwards." So he gave me 
the money for the check, and I gave it to Captain Scott. 
He was so glad to get the money he went back without 
buying anything. I have often laughed over this. I kept 
the letter a long time, but I have lost it or I should put it 
here just as it was. I went back six months afterwards to 
see my cousin, but the agent sent word to me by his inter- 
preter that he did not want me on the reservation. I said 
to the interpreter, who was my cousin, " I am only an Indian 
woman. Why does not he come himself and tell me to 
go away, and not tell you ? " There are only two agents 
who have been kind to me. Captain Smith, agent at Warm 
Spring Reservation, and agent Parrish. It was because 
they did not steal. Captain Smith is the only agent who can 
truly say, " I have civilized my Indians." They are a self- 
supporting tribe, and very rich. When he first took them 
they were the poorest kind of Indians. We Piutes call 
them snake-headed Indians, for their heads are so flat that 
when they are turned sideways they look just like snakes* ' 
heads. Every year this agent gave from five to ten wagons, 
and the same number of farming implements, till every one 
of the Indians had farms. Dear reader, if our agent had 
done his duty like that one, there would be peace every- - 
where, on every agency ; but almost all the agents look out 
for their own pockets. Every agent that we Piutes have 
had always rented the reservation out to cattle men; and 
got one dollar a head for the cattle, and if my people asked 
whose the cattle were, he would say they belong to the Big 
Father at Washi agton, and then my people would say no 


Digitized by 




In the winter of 1878, I was living at the head of John 
Day's river with a lady by the name of Courly. On the 
21 St of April I had some visitors from the Malheur 

They were my own people. There were three of them, 
and they said they had come to see their sister. They had 
had a hard time to get over the mountains. There was a 
great deal of snow at one place on the summit. 

"You see, dear sister," they said, "don't we look. like 
men who have lived a long time without eating ? " " Yes," 
I said, " you look poorly indeed. You had better come in 
and have something to eat, so that you can talk better." 

The good lady got them something to eat. Bread and 
meat tasted very good indeed. It puf one in mind of old 
times when meat and bread were plenty. One of the men 
said, — * 

" We have come to see if you can help us in some way. 
We know that you are always ready to help your people. 
We will tell you so that you can judge for yourself. Our 
agent, Reinhard, has been very unkind to us since you 
left us. He has not given us anything to eat ; he is not 
issuing rations to us as our father Parrish used to do, and 
our poor children are cr^dng to us for food, and we are 
powerless to help our little ones. Some two months ago 
the agent bought a good many beef cattle, but the cattle 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

138 Life Among the Piutes. 

were only three days at the agent's when they ran away, 
and cannot be found anywhere in the country. So we are 
really starving over there, and we don't know what to do. 
Nor do we get any clothing, as we used to do long ago. 
They are shooting our ponies down, too, when they break 
down the fences. The interpreter and the mail carrier go 
and get everything they want to eat. But poor we ! You 
know, Sarah, there is nothing to be gathered this time of 
year, so we are at loss to know what will become of us. Oh, 
dear sister Sadie, go with us to Camp Harney and see the 
officers there ; see if they can help us in some way, or go 
to Washington in our behalf." 

After they had told me their story, I said to them that I 
was very sorry for them, as I had nothing to do with. 
Then they asked me what I meant by saying that. 

I said, "In the first place I have no money to go to 
Washington, but I would be most happy to do all I could 
for you. In the second place, you all know how Agent 
Reinhard discharged me for reporting him to the officers 
at Camp Harney. I will do all I can, but that is very 

So they went back to the Malheur Agency on the 23d of 
April, and I staid with Mrs. Courly all along. Then they 
came back again on the 29th of May, the same men and 
three others, making sfcc in all. They were very glad to 
see me, for they said they were afraid I had gone away. 
They had come back to tell me again about Agent Rein- 
hard's doings. He had driven them away from the agency ; 
and their people were all down the river, about twenty-five 
miles away from it. 

"They are there trying to catch salmon to live upon, as 
they had nothing else to eat, and we can catch enough for 
all that are there. There are with us about fifteen fami- 
lies of Bannocks at the fishery. They came from Fort Hall. 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, - 139 

It is Bannock Jack's band. They have brought us very sad 
news from there. They say that all their ponies have been 
taken from them, and all their guns too, for something two 
of their men had done. They got drunk and went and 
shot two white men. One of the Indians had a sister out 
^^%%^''^Z some roots, and these white men went to the 
women who were digging, and caught this poor girl, and 
used her shamefully. The other women ran away and left 
this girl to the mercy of those white men, and it was on 
her account that her brother went and shot them. They 
are the cause of all our trouble, and caused us all to lose 
our horses and everything we had, and we all left there 
thinking your good agent was with you yet. We have 
come to make us a home with you, but we see that your 
new agent is very bad indeed, for not giving you anything 
to live on. He knows you have not got anything and can 
get nothing, unless you steal it somehow." 

This is what the Bannocks told my people, and they 
brought it to me in St. John Day's valley, and asked me 
to go with them. I told them I could not go just then, but 
I would go about the last of the month. 

They said, " We ourselves have Ipst some of our horses, 
and we would like to have you write us a letter that we 
can show to some of the whites who live round here. 
Maybe they could tell us something about it. But we 
think the Columbia River Indians have stolen them, or 
the Umatilla Indians, we don't know which, for a party of 
both of them were at the agency." 

Very late in the fall my people came again while I was 
living with Mrs. Courly, and once more they asked me to 
talk for them. I then told them I would do what I could. 
" If it was in my power I would be too happy to do so for 
you, but I am powerless, being a woman, and yet you 
come to me for help. You have your interpreter ; why 

Digitized by 


140 Life Among the Piutes. 

does not he talk for you ? He is the man for you to go to." 
Then they said to me, — 

" Sarah, we know that Jarry is in with the agent, and it 
is no use for us to ask him or the mail-carrier, who have 
everything they want and enough to eat, and Reinhard 
does not care whether we g<&t anything or not. So we 
came to you, for you are the only one that is always ready 
to talk for us. We know our sister can write on paper to 
our good father in Washington if she will." 

I told them I would come over as soon as I could get 
over the mountains with my wagon, as I had a nice little 
wagon of my own. Then they said good-bye and went 

On the first of June two gentlemen called on me from 
Canyon City. They said they had heard down there that 
I was going over to the agency soon. I told them it was 

" We heard that you have a team of your own, and we 
have come to 'ask you if you would take us over with you, 
and from there we can go over to Malheur City."- 

One of the men said, " I have a daughter, and there will 
be three of us who would like to go with you if you will 
take us. We will pay you well. How much will you 
charge us to go with you ? " 

I told them I did not know. I could not tell just then. 
I then asked the gentleman who said he had a daughter to 
bring her to see me, and I would then tell him. So on the 
same day, he and his little daughter called on me, and he 
introduced her as Rosey Morton. She was only twelve 
years old and very pretty. I then told him I would take 
them to Malheur City for twenty dollars. He said, " I will 
give it to you," and I told them to be ready on the morn- 
ing of the fourth of June. They came. We started that 
afternoon and went on to the Summit that night ; started 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 141 

early again the next morning and got to the agency about 
six o'clock in the evening. I took my passengers to the 
agent's house and left them there, and went to where the 
interpreter lived. It was about two miles and a half 
further. As soon as I got there my cousin, the interpreter, 
sent for Oytes and Egan, as they were down at the fishery. 
I heard Jarry say to the men he was sending, — 

" Tell them that Sarah is here. If they can come to- 
night, well and good. If not, tell them to be sure to come 
to-morrow. Tell the Bannocks to come, too." The inter- 
preter did not tell me many things. He only said, " A 
great many of the Bannocks are here with us now, and 
I don't know what they are going to do here. They will 
tell you all about themselves." 

It was some time in the night when they came. I heard 
Jarry, the interpreter, say to Egan, — 

" Did you bring any salmon or anything to eat ? Sarah 
went to bed without anything to eat. We have not any- 
thing at all down here." 

" We have not caught any salmon for ten days," Egan 
said, " and, therefore we had nothing to bring. What does 
that praying agent mean by not giving us our rations? 
What does he say about giving rations, anyhow ; or, what 
does he say about giving us some of the wheat which we 
raised last year ? " " Well, Egan, he did not say anything, 
when I told him what you and Oytes said about the wheat. 
I was there yesterday to see if I could buy some flour of 
him, but he won't sell me any. He told me to tell you and 
Oytes that he has written to Washington about the wheat, 
and just as soon as the order comes he would send to your 

" Well, what has Washington to do with the wheat, I'd 
like to know ? " 

"Well, Egan, that is what he told me to tell you and 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

143 Life Among the Piutes. 

Then I heard Egan say, " Is Sarah asleep ? We had 
better talk to her now for fear Reinhard will find out she 
is here, and send her away, as he did before." 

So my cousin came and told me that the chiefs Egan and 
Oytes wanted to have a talk with me. I did not dare to 
say no, so I got up and went to the council-tent. As I went 
in. Chief Egan introduced me to the Bannocks. He told 
them I was their former interpreter at the agency, and that 
I was their teacher also. 

" She has done everything in her power for us," he said, 
" and our praying agent discharged her for no other cause 
than that Oytes and I took her to Camp Harney to report 
him. Therefore you need not be afraid to talk to her. 
She is our friend. Tell her all your troubles. I know she 
will help you." 

Egan stopped talking and then Bannock Jack went on 
and said,- — 

" You say our great chieftain's 'daughter is good, and you 
say she can talk on paper, top, and therefore I will ask her 
if she heard what the papers are saying about our troubles 
.at Fort Hall ? " 

Wh*en this question was put to me I told them 1 had 
been living quite a way from Canyon City, and had not 
seen the papers, and could not tell them anything about 

" Well," said Bannock Jack, " you can talk on paper." 

I said " Yes, I could. Then he said, " Will you be so 
kind as to write down all I will tell you ? " 

Then I sent for some paper and a pencil to write it down 
as he asked me to. He went on and told me the very _ 
same thing that my people had already told me w^hen they 
came to see me at St. John Day's Valley, except this : 
Bannock Jack said the white people had told their chiefs to 
go and gel the two men who had killed the two white men. 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


The Bannock War. 143 

They said they must get two Indian men within ten days. 
If they did not they would all suffer for it. When this was 
told us our chiefs sent our men to find them, and it took 
some little time to do so, and when they did find them they 
were bringing them in. One more day would have brought 
them to Fort Hall. But some of the friends of the two 
men came and met them, and said that all of their people 
were in prison, and " oh, everything was taken from them, 
their guns and their ponies, and they were guarded by a 
great many soldiers, and it is said they are all going to be 

" And what is the use," they said, " for us to go with these 
men ? We had better keep away from them." Weil, it was 
these men's friends who went on the war-path, and this 
was the beginning of the Bannock war. Then Bannock 
Jack asked me if I had it all written down. I said, " Yes." 
Then he said, " Will you be so kind as to send it to Wash- 
ington and ask our Great Father in Washington to help us 
get back our guns and our ponies. They were not given 
us by our Good Father in Washington. If they had been 
we would not say a word. They were bought by our own 
hard work. We think it very hard for a whole tribe to 
lose everything and to be all killed beside, and for what 
they did not give us time to do, and as if we had refused 
to get the men." 

The second chief, Egan, got up again to talk. He be- 
gan by saying, "My dear mother," — for this is the way 
our people address any one who is their superior. If a 
woman, it is their mother ; if a man, it is their father. So 
Egan began in this way. When he got up to talk to me, 
he said, — 

" When our good father, Sam Parrish, was here, oh, then 
we were happy. Our children were not crying for anything 
to eat, and causing our hearts to ache for them. We all 

Digitized by 


144 Ltf^ Among the Piutes. 

had everything we wanted, we had plenty of clothes, and 
were all doing well. And you, our dear mother, told us 
the truth. You told us that Sam was going away, and that 
there was a Christian agent to be sent here in his place ; 
but you said you Jcnew he would not do for us like our 
father Parrish. Oh, it was too true ! Here we are all 
starving under this Christian man. He has not made any 
issues of clothing since he came here. After he discharged 
you, and you were gone, he called for a council, and all 
went to hear what he had to say. He told us that if we 
did not like the way he did, all we had to do was to leave 
the place, that he did not care, and he also said, " If my in- 
terpreter does not do as I want him to, he can go too. 
The government is not going to fool with you. Now if you 
want to work, the government will pay you one dollar a 
day." I, chief of the Snake River Piutes, stopped the 
agent by saying, * I want to talk a little.' I commenced 
by saying, * You are a good man. You talk with our Great 
Father up in the Spirit-land. You look up to the sky, and 
make us think you are a good Christian, and we want you 
to tell us the truth, not lies. We know nothing. We don't 
read, and therefore we don't know what to think. You, 
who are greater than anybody, say that this is government 
land, not land for us ; and you say we must work for govern- 
ment, and government will pay us one dollar a day for our 
work. Yes, we will work for the government for money, for 
we love money just as well as you do, — ^you good Christian 
men who have come here. We were told by our good 
agent, Sam Parrish, that this land was ours for all to work 
upon and make us homes here. He also told us the gov- 
ernment had set it apart for us Indians, and government 
would help us all if we would help ourselves, and that we 
must always be ready to go to work at whatever work he 
put us to, and that everything we raised on the place was 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 145 

ours, and the annuities that were sent here were given to 
us by our good father Parrish. He gave us everything 
our hearts could wish for. He also told me to tell all my 
people who had no homes to come here and go to work like 
white men. The white folk have to work very hard and 
we must do the same. Our good agent never had any 
trouble with us, because we would do everything we could 
to please him, and he did the same by us. He gave us 
our annuities without saying * You must do this or that, or 
you leave here.' No : he treated us as if were his chil- 
dren, and we returned his kindness by doing everything he 
set us to do. He was with us two years, and we were all 
happy. He did not shoot our ponies because the ponies 
broke the fences, but he would say, *Your horses have 
broken into your grain, look out for them ' ; and then we 
would run and get them out and mend the fences. He did 
not do like you, good Christian man, by saying, * Here, my 
men, go and shoot those Indians* horses ! They are in our 
grain.' Our father Parrish told u^ all to be good and 
never take any stray horses that came on our agency ; nor 
did he want us to go and get stray horses. Have you done 
so ? No : you and your men have done everything that is 
bad. You have taken up every horse that came along here, 
and you have them in your stable, and you are working 
them. And another thing, your men are doing what Par- 
rish told us not to do, that is gambling. You and your 
men have brought a book amongst us that has big chiefs' 
pictures and their wives' pictures on the papers, and an- 
other picture which you call Jack, and another something 
like it. 

" And with these your men come to our camps, and gam- 
ble with your interpreter and your mail-carrier, every time 
you pay them off. This is what your blacksmith Johnson is 
doing ; and your school-teacher, Frank Johnson, instead of 

Digitized by 


146 Life Among ike Piutes, 

teaching my people's children, does more gambling than 
teaching. What you pay to your interpreter and mail-car- 
riej, the two Johnsons win back again with the book that 
you brought here. So we are at a loss to know which of 
you are right : whether Sam Parrish told us lies or you, or 
our chieftain's daughter, Sarah Winnemucca, about the land 
being ours ; and you who talk with our Great Father in the 
Spirit-laud three times a day, have come here and told us 
the land is not ours.' This is what I said to the agent 
after you left us, and now you have come and found me 
almost starved. 

"Now one and all of you, my men, give our mother 
what little money you have. Let her go and tajk for us. 
Let her go right on to Washington, and have a talk with 
our Great Father in Washington." 

Then they all asked me if 1 would go if they would give 
me the money to go with. I told them I would only be too 
happy to do all I could in their behalf, if they wanted me 
to. So they went to work and got together and every one 
gave what they could, and all Egan got for me was twenty- 
nine dollars and twenty-five cents. This was got for me by 
Egan, the chief of the Snake River Piutes. This was in- 
deed very little to s*art with. But as I had promised, I 
thought I would go to Elko, Nevada, with my horses and 
wagon and sell them there, and go to Washington and see 
what I could do for thenk So our council ended on the 
7th of June, 1878. And Mr. Morton asked me again if 
I would take him and his little daughter to Silver City, 
Idaho. I told him.yes, if he would pay fifty dollars for the 
three of them, and pay one half of it down, which he did. 
So we started on the morning of the 8th of June. We 
journeyed on for three days, and heard nothing about an 
Indian war. But we saw houses standing all along the 
road without anybody living in them ; and we talked about 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 147 

it, and did not know what it meant. On the twelfth we 
met a man on the summit, just before getting to a place 
called Fort Lyon, who told us there was the greatest Indian 
war that ever was known. He said the Bannock Indians 
were just killing everything that came in their way, and he 
told us to hurry on to a place called Stone House. That 
was the first I heard that the Bannocks were on the war- 
path. So we hurried on to the place. We got to the stage- 
road, and as we were going up the road we met three men 
coming down. They told us that the stage-driver had been 
killed. There had been no stage running for three days. 
He said there had been fighting going on at South Moun- 
tains, and a great many were killed, and some Piute Indians 
were killed too. I said, — 

" Are they on the war-path, too ? " 

They said, " No, they were with white men who went out 
to fight the Bannocks, and the Bannocks had whipped 
them. Everybody is at the storehouse with their families." 
He told me not to go any farther than there, for they would 
surely kill us if they came across us. 

" They want nothing better than to kill Chief Winne- 
mucca's daughter." 

So these men went on down the road and we went on as 
fast as we could, and drove up to the storehouse just at 
eleven o'clock. They ran out to my wagon. They all had 
their guns and one of the men asked me who I was and 
where I was going. I said I was Sarah Winnemucca, and 
I was going to Elko, Nevada. As I told him who I was 
he held out his hand and said, — 

" I am Captain Hill, and I want you to stop here, for 
you are in great danger ; just drive in there." I did so. I 
told Mr. Morton to take care of the team, and I took the 
little girl and went into the house. Then Captain Hill 
took me into the parlor and asked me if I knew an)rthing 

Digitized by 


148 Life Among the Piiites. 

about the outbreak of the Bannocks. I told him I did not 
know anything about it till yesterday, when a man met me 
at the Summit, beyond Camp Lyon, who told me. He then 
asked me if I knew Captain Bernard. I told him I did. 
" He will be here to-night," he said, " or to-morrow sure, 
with his command." He asked me who the man was who 
was with me. I told him I did not know much about him, 
but he and his little daughter were going to Silver City. 
All this time I little thought of the talk that was going on 
about me, until about twenty scouts arrived and with them 
a Piute Indian. Then the captain of the scouts came to 
me and asked me to talk English with him, not Indian. 
So I asked him who he was. He said, " Me name Piute 

" What is the matter ? " said J. 

"Me no see, he said, "where you all going — me hope 
no sauce — " I said, " Captain, what is the use of my 
talking to you ? If you are afraid of me there is a white 
woman who can talk my language well, You can call her 
and she can tell you if I say anything wrong." 

The captain said, " Where is she ? " 

" There she is." 

So the lady's husband brought her forward. Then he 
said, — 

" The Bannocks are all out fighting. They are killing 
everything and everybody, Indians and whites, and I and 
two more of my people went with these men out to South 
Mountain to fight them, and we came on to Buffalo Horn's 
camp and had a fight with them, and the scouts ran away and 
left him to the mercy of Bannocks. I saw that I could not 
get away when they were all mustered on me, so I jumped off 
my horse and placed my horse between me and them, and 
laid my gun over the saddle, and fired at Buffalo Horn as 
he came galloping up, ahead of his men. He fell from his 

Digitized by 



The Bannock War. 149 

horse, so his men turned and fled when they saw their 
chief fall to the ground, and I jumped on my horse again 
and came to Silver City as fast as I could. I tell you, my 
dear sister, my captain was surprised when he saw me com- 
ing, for he had left me to be killed by the Bannocks. The 
two other Indians were wounded, and I am wounded also." 

Just then Captain Bernard came%long on his way down 
to Sheep Ranch, with his one company. All the soldiers 
looked at me as if I was some fearful beast, when Captain 
Bernard came to talk to me after he had seen the two cap- 
tains. Captain Bernard said to me, — 

" Sarah, these citizens say that you have a good deal of 
ammunition in your wagon." 

Oh, can any one imagine my feelings when he said this 
to me ? My heart almost bounded into my mouth, I said, — 

" Captain, they must know or they would not say so. Go 
and see for yourself, captain, and if you find anything in my 
wagon besides a knife and fork and a pair of scissors I will 
give you my head for your football. How can I be taking 
-guns and ammunition to my people when I am going right 
away from them ? " 

I told Captain Bernard everything, — why I was there, 
and that I had started to go to Washington for my people, 
as they wanted me to do. 

I once more said to him, " Go to my wagon and see." 

" No, Sarah, I believe what you tell me is true." Then I 
told him what Piute Joe had told me about his killing Buf- 
falo Horn out at South Mountain. 

" Now, captain, you do me a great favor by believing me. 
If I can be of . any use to the army, I am at your service, 
and I will go with it till the war is over." 

He said, " Well, Sarah, I will telegraph to Gen. O. O. 
Howard. He is at Fort Bois^, and I will see what he 
says about it Do you know the country pretty well ? " 

Digitized by 


I50 Life Among the Piutes. 

I told him I did^ 

** Well, Sarah, I will send for you from the Sheep Ranch. 
You will come if I send, will you ? " 

I said, " I will come if the citizens don't kill me." 

" Yes, Sarah, I would like to have you go as my guard, 
for I can get no Indian to go with me for love or money." 

"Yes, captain, I wilLgo and do all I can for the govern- 
ment, if Gen. Howard wants me." _ 

Then Captain Bernard said good-bye and went away 
with his company. I staid at the place all night, and the 
citizens were mad because the captain did not search my 
wagon for the ammunition, and they put a guard on my 
wagon that night. I cried and told them they ought to be 
ashamed of themselves. So passed the night quietly. I 
got up in the morning, had my breakfast, and looked after 
my horses.. I went to the captain and said, " Please come 
to my wagon with all of your men and women. I want to 
show you all how much ammunition I have in it." 

Captain Hill asked me to forgive him for saying such a 
thing about me to the army officer. " I know your father 
is a friend to the whites. If I can do anything for you I 
will be most happy to do it If you want to go to the com- 
mand I will give you a horse any minute you want to go." 

Just then there came four Indians and one white man. 
I ran to meet them. I knew them all. I asked where they 
came from. They said,^ — 

" We were sent by the commanding officer from Camp 
McDermitt with a dispatch to the chief of the soldiers. " 

" Which way did you come ? " 

"We came by Camp Three Forks of Owyhee River." 
They had to come that way because there was no travel- 
ling on the stage road since the driver was killed. The 
telegraph wire was cut, so there was no communication be- 
tween Sheep Ranch and Camg^ McDermitt. 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 151 

I then said to the captain, " I want to go with these men 
to the command." 

" Yes, Sarah, I can let you have a horse and a saddle, 

Then I told my people I would go with them. Then 
George, one of the men, said, — 

" Oh, Sarah, I am so glad you are going with us, for we 
are all afraid that the white people will k^l us if we go 
alone, for just about here we met some men, and they would 
have killed us anyhow, only this white man saved us." 

I ran to my wagon to get ready. I told Morton and his 
little girl that I was to leave them, and the little girl began 
to cry. Her father talked to me and said, — 

" Sarah, don't leave Rosey, for she has come to love 
you." I told him I had to work for my people. 

" Now, Sarah, as I have never talked to you before, will 
you be my wife ? We will go to Silver City and get mar- 
ried right away." 

I said to him, "You honor me too much by offering 
marriage to me, Mr. Morton. I thank you very much for 
your kind offer, but I cannot marry a man that I don't 
love. You and your daughter can go down to-morrow ; I 
shall be at the Sheep Ranch, and there I will wait for 

My horse was ready and I bade him good-by. This was 
on the i2th of June, 1878. 

We rode full gallop most of the time. We had thirty 
miles to go to the command. Just as we got in sight of 
the camp at Sheep Ranch, we saw a man coming. He did 
not see us until he got pretty close to us. When he saw 
us, he stopped and looked at us. We were riding along 
slowly, and the white man that was with us was ahead of 
us so that he could see there was a white man with us, but 
he turned round and ran as fast as he could, and the white 

Digitized by 


152 'Life Among the Pmtes. 

man who was with us called to him just as loud as he could. 
He ran on and turned to shoot. Our white man took off his 
hat to show him we were not his enemies, but he got worse, 
and then I said, " Let us run after him, for he knows we 
are not Bannocks, for Bannock women don't ride side- 
ways nor do they wear riding-dresses." So we put after 
him just as hard as we could, the white man and I riding 
side by side, halloing to him just as an Indian would do 
when he is after his enemy. I tell you we very soon made 
him stop his foolishness. When, Captain Bernard saw me 
coming with four Indians, he and other officers came to 
meet me. His first question was, " What is the matter 
with the Indians?" Without saying a word, I gave him 
the letter they had given me from Camp McDermitt, which 
explained all without my saying a word. Bernard told the 
men to take the Indians to their camp and give them 
something to eat, as it was eight o'clock, and he took me 
to his own tent. I was treated with most high respect by 
the captain and his officers. After supper he took me up 
to the hotel and I staid there all night. The captain 
wanted me to help him get the Indians to go with a dis- 
patch to Camp Harney, or to the Malheur Agency, and 
find out the whereabouts of the hostile Bannocks. He 
said if they would go they would be well paid. I told them, 
word for word, what Captain Bernard had told me to say 
to them. Then they said, — 

*' Sarah, we will do anything we can for the officers and 
you ; we will go with dispatches anywhere but to the hostile 
Bannocks; we cannot go to them, for, Sarah, you don't 
know what a danger that is. Sarah, your brother Natchez 
was killed, or is dead, for the same morning on which we 
were to start, three white men said so. Natchez and they 
made their escape from the hostile Bannocks and the Ban- 
nocks pursued them, and Natchez' horse gave out And 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 153 

all your folks were crying the day we left Camp McDermitt. 
Dear sister, it is not safe to go to them. Of course we 
know only what the white men told us. Oh, we do hope it 
is not so. If Natchez is killed by the Bannocks, oh, it will 
be too bad indeed." 

Oh, when they told me this sad news about my dear 
brother, my heart was dead within me. A thousand 
thoughts passed through my mind. I said to myself, " If 
my brother was killed by the Bannocks and we do go and 
be killed by them too ! " Then I told Captain Bernard 
the Indian men would not go for love or money. I told 
the captain I would go, if I had to go alone, and he would 
give me a good horse. He said, — 

" Sarah, you cannot go, can you ? " 

" Yes, I will go if there is a horse to carry me." 

" Sarah, if you are in earnest, I will send a telegram to 
General Howard and see what he says about it." ^ 

On the morning of June 13th I got up very early and 
went down to the camp and had my breakfast, and then I 
called the Indians, and asked George to accompany me 
to Malheur Agency or to the whereabouts of the hostile 

" Are you playing with me, Sarah, or do you think I 
would let you go alone ? No, no, I will go with you, — 
John and I will go." 

" Well, we will go as soon as the telegram comes from 
General Howard. George, we will go, no matter what comes 
of it. There is nothing that will stop me." 

Just as I got these words out of my mouth, Captain 
Bernard called me, and I went to him. 

The saddest day hath gleams of light, 
The darkest wave hath bright foam *neath it, 

And twinkles o'er the cloudiest night 
Some solitary star to cheer it. 

Digitized by 


154 -^(/^ Among tlie Piuies, 

" Now, Sarah," he said, " if you will go to your father, 
tell him and his people that they shall be taken care of 
and be fed. Get all the well-disposed of your people to 
come near the troops, where they can be safe. Now, 3^arah^ 
if you can succeed, your reward shall be five hundred 
dollars. Don't forget to tell them that all who behave 
well shall be properly fed." 

I said to the captain, " I came through the Malheur 
Agency on the 6th of the month and there is nothing for 
them to eat there." 

He said, " Tell them all to come to the troops." 

Then I asked him to write me a letter to take with me 
in case that my horses should give out and I should come 
to a ranch where I could get some horses. He wrote, — 

" To all good citizens in the country : — Sarah Winne- 
mucca, with two of her people, goes with a dispatch to her 
father. If her horses should give out, help her all you can 
and oblige Captain Bernard." 

With this letter I started down the crossing of Owyhee 
River, about fifteen miles from the Sheep Ranch, at about 
a quarter of a mile from the place where the stage-driver 
was killed, and when we got there the citizen-scouts were all 
asleep. If we had been hostile Bannocks we could have 
killed every one of them. Some of these scouts were get- 
ting from fifteen to twenty-five dollars a day, and this is the 
way the citizen-scouts earned their money during an In- 
dian war. They go off a little way from the troops and lie 
down and come back and report that there are Indians 
within half a mile from the troops. We went into the 
house and waked them up. I said to them, "Is this the 
way you all find the hostiles ? We could have killed every 
one of you if we had been they. I want a fresh horse if 
you have one, as I don't think one of our horses will stand 
the trip, as we are going to the Malheur Agency or to the 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 155 

hostile Bannocks wherever they are. We are sent by General 
O. O. Howard, and here is a letter which Captain Bernard 
gave me." 

One of them read it and said, " All right, Sarah, we will 
give you the best horse we have here." Then they gave us 
our dinner and we started on our work. We had not gone but 
about a mile beyond the crossing at Owyhee River when 
we struck the hostiles* trail. We followed it down the 
river as much as fifteen miles, and then we came to where 
they had camped, and where they had been weeping, and 
where they had cut their hair. So we knew that it was 
hereabout that Buffalo. Horn had been killed, for they had 
been tearing up clothes, cutting off hair and breaking up 
beads there. Here they left the river and struck off to- 
ward Barren Valley. They had to go up a hill and here I 
found the poor stage-driver's whip, which I took with me. 
We rode very hard all day long — did not stop to rest 
all that day. The country was very rocky and no water. 
We had travelled about fifty miles that day. Now it was 
getting dark, but we rode on. It was very difficult for us 
to travel fast, for our horses almost fell over sometimes. I 
said, — 

" Boys, let us stop for the night, for our horses will 
surely fall over us and kill us, and then the hostile Ban- 
nocks will not have the pleasure of killing us." Here my 
men laughed at me, so we stopped for the night and ate 
our hard bread without any water. Then I gave my or- 
ders by saying, — 

"John, you stand guard, George and I will sleep a little, 
and then wake him and let him stand guard the rest of the 
night, and we must start just as soon as we can see to 
travel." So I lay down to have a little sleep, using my 
saddle for a pillow. I did not sleep, as my horse kept 
pulling me as I had tied him to my arm. I heard John 

Digitized by 


156 Life Among the Piutes. 

come and say to George, " It is daylight.'* I jumped up 
and said, "We will go; I am almost dead for water." 
We started on the full jump across Barren Valley, 
toward Mr. G. B. Crawley's ranch. As we c^me nearer 
and nearer, I said, " I can't see the house." So we rode 
on until I saw it was burnt down, and ^he men said, " Yes, 
and we see the smoke yet." Yes, it was still burning. 
We saw a fresh track here and there. I saw by the 
look of everything that it was set on fire the morning of 
the thirteenth of June. George said to me, "Sarah, 
let us not stop here, for they must be close by." 

I saw that they were afraid. I said to them, " It is of no 
use to be afraid ; we have come to see them and see them 
we must, and if they kill us we have to die and that is all 
about it, and now we must have something to eat. George, 
you go and look out while John and I make some coffee, 
and when it is ready we will call you." John said, " Sarah, 
let us kill some of the chicken?." I said, " No, John, we 
will not, for they do not belong to us." 

So we made our coffee as quickly as we could. We made 
it in one of the tin cans that had been burnt, and called 
George, who came down, and we all ate our breakfast as 
fast as we could, and I said to my boys, " What do you two 
think ? Had we better go to the Malheur agency, or fol- 
low up the trail, which looks as if all the Indians were going 
towards Stein's mountains. You are men, you can decide 
better than I can." 

" Now, Sarah, you know this country better than we do, 
and you know what to do, and if we say go this way or that 
way you would blame us if anything should happen, and 
another thing we have come with you and are at your com- 
mand. Whatever you say we will follow ybu." 

" Well, since you have left it all to me, we will follow up 
the fresh trail that goes towards Stein's mountains, I think 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 157 

it is our people going to Camp McDermitt/* It was now 
about six o'clock in the morning of the fourteenth of 
June. So we started again and rode as fast as our horses 
could travel. We had about sixty miles to go to find some 
white people. We travelled on and found a clock on their 
trail at a place called Juniper Lake, and we all knew it 
was tlie hostile Bannocks we were following. The next 
thing we found was a fiddle and I took it along with me. 
About noon I saw something coming down the mountain. 
" Oh," said I, " oh, look there ! What is it ? " *' Oh, it is 
mountain sheep," We galloped up towards them. They 
came close to us and John shot and killed one. We took 
some of the meat and there I lost my fiddle, and it is there 
to this day, as I ^ever went back to find it. 

As we rode on about five miles from Juniper Lake, we 
saw some one upon the mountains, as if they were running, 
so we waved our handkerchiefs at them. There were two 
of them. As we came nearer to them I said to George, 
" Call to them." He did so." I saw them rise to their 
feet I waved my handkerchief at them again and one of 
them called out, " Who are you ? " I said, " Your sister, 
Sarah." It was Lee Winnemucca, my brother, who had 
called out. So they jumped on their horses, and came to 
us, and the minute he rode up he jumped from his horse 
and took me in his arms and said, " Oh, dear sister, you 
have come to save us, for we are all prisoners of the Ban- 
nocks. They have treated our father most shamefully. 
They have taken from us what few guns we had, and our 
blankets, and our horses. They have done this because 
they outnumber us, and we are all up in the mountains 
with them Oh, sister, have you brought us some good 
news ? Have you come for us ? Oh, dear sister, here I 
am standing and talking to you, knowing the great danger 
you are in by coming here, and these men, too. The Ban- 

Digitized by 


158 Life Among the Piutes, 

nocks are out in the mountain^, looking out. Take off 
your hat and your dress and unbraid your hair, and put 
this blanket round you, so if they should come down they 
would not know who it is. Here is some paint. Paint 
your face quick. Here, men, hide your guns and take off 
your clothes and make yourselves look as well as you 

All this was done as quickly as possible, and we were 
all dressed like the hostile Bannocks. I asked, — 

" Where is our father ? " 

" We are all up over that mountain. We are but six 
miles from here." 

" I must go to him. I have a message for him and for 
all our people, too." 

" Oh, no, dear sister, you will be killed if you go there, 
for our brother Natchez has made his escape three days 
ago. They were going to kill him because he had saved 
the lives of three white men. Oh, dear sister, let me pray 
you not to go, for they will surely kill you, for they have 
said they will kill every one that comes with messages from 
the white people, for Indians who come with messages are 
no friends of ours, they say every night." 

" But, dear brother, they will not know me." 

"Yes, Oytes will know you, for he is their chief now, 
since Buffalo Horn is killed." 

" Dear brother, I am sorry to tell you that I must go to 
my father, for I have come with a message from General 
O. O. Howard, I must save my father and his people if I 
lose my life in trying to do it, and my father's too. That 
is all right. I have come for you all. Now let us go^" 

The mountain we had to go over was very rocky and 
steep, almost perpendicular. Sometimes it was very hard 
for us to climb up on our hands and knees. But we got 
up at last, and looked down into the hostile encampment. 

Digitized by 


Tlte Bannock War, 159 

Oh, such a sight my eyes met ! It was a beautiful sight. 
About three hundred and twenty-seven lodges, and about 
four hundred and fifty warriors were down Little Valley 
catching horses, and some more were killing beef. The 
place looked as if it was all alive with hostile Bannocks. 
I began to feel a little afraid. I looked down upon them, . 
and I said, — 

" Brother, is our father's lodge inside the line ? We 
must leave our horses here and go on foot. I can run 
down the mountain very fast." 

Brother said, " If you are discovered, how will you get 

" Oh, well, our horses are almost given out anyway ; so, 
dear brpther, we must trust to good luck, and it is not so 
very far. Let us go quick and be back, for I have no time 
to lose." 

So we ran all ^he way down the mountain. Before I went 
into my father's lodge, I sent brother in to tell him I was 
coming. He did so, and I heard him whistle, and I then 
said to the men, " We will go in." Oh, how glad my father 
was to see me ! He took me in his arms and said, — 

" Oh, my dear little girl, and what is it ? Have you come 
to save me yet ? My little child is in great danger. Oh, 
our Great Father in the Spirit-land, look down on us and 
save us ! " This was repeated by every one in the tent. 

Every one in the lodge whispered,' " Oh, Sadie, you have 
come to save us ! " 

I said, " Yes, I have come to save you all if you will do 
as I wish you to and be quiet about it. Whisper it among 
yourselves. Get ready to-night, for there is no time to 
lose, for the soldiers are close by. I have come from them 
with this word : * Leave the hostile Bannocks and come to 
the troops. You shall be properly fed by the troops.* 
Are you all here ? I mean all the Malheur Reservation 

Digitized by 


l6o Life Among the Piutes. 

** Yes, all are here, and Oytes is the chief of them." 
" Father, you tell the women to make bfelieve they are 
gathering wood for the night, and while they are doing that 
they can get away." And while I was yet talking, I saw 
the women go out, one by one, with ropes in their hands, 
until we were left alone, — that is, I was left alone with 
eight men : my father, and my brother Lee, and my 
cousins, George Winnemucca, Joe Winnemucca, and James 
Winnemucca, and the two men that were with me. 
" Now, father, let us go, as it is getting dark." 
Then father said, " Now, dear son, go and get as many 
horses as you can get, and drive them down as fast as you 
can. We shall wait for you at Juniper Lake." 

My brother Lee jumped up, rope in hand, and went out 
of the tent, and then my father gave orders to his nephews, 
and we four started out, leaving father's lodge all lonely. 
It was like a dream. I could not get along at all. I al- 
most fell down at every step, my father dragging me along. 
Oh, how my heart jumped when I heard a noise close by. 
It was a horse running to Wards us. We had to lie down 
close to the ground. It came close to us and stopped. 
Oh, how my heart beat ! I thought whoever it was would 
hear my heart beat. It stood a little while and some one 

" Yes," the whistle said, " where is father ? " 
It was dear little Mattie, my sister-in-law. She had 
waited for her husband in the woods, and he came out. 
She went with him and he sent her to me with a horse. 
Oh, how thankful I was to Mattie for the horse I So my 
father helped me on to the horse. We went on faster and 
got to where we had left our horses, and found them all 

" George," I said, " take off my saddle and put it on 
this horse, the horse my brother has sent me, and you take 
my horse. It is better than yours." 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. •• i6i 

The men led the horses down the mountain, while Mat- 
tie and I ran down hand4n-hand. We could run down the 
mountain faster than horses could. When we got down to 
the Juniper Lake, Lee was there all ready waiting for us, 
also the women. Lee also had had the women cook the 
mountain-sheep meat we had left there for me, for I assure 
my readers that I did not know what hunger was all that 
time, — I had forgotten all about eating. I said, — 

" Come, women, take some in your hands and get on 
your horses, and eat while you are travelling, for we have 
many miles before us to-night. Tie your children to your 
backs. If they should sleep so, they will not fall off, for 
we must travel all night." 

Lee came up to me and said, " Sarah, I am going back 
to get Jarry Lang," — that was our cousin, agent Reinhard's 
interpreter. " He is a close prisoner. I will go and see 
if I can get him." 

I said, " Lee, if you go, try and get all you can." I 
turned round and said " Are you all ready ? " 

"Yes." My father gave the order by saying, " Ride two by 
two, keep close together. Men, march your children and 
your wives. Six men keep back, for fear we will be fol- 

So father and Mattie and my two men and myself led at 
the head of my people. We marched for some six hours. 
Mattie and I saw a track, and father called out " Halt 1 " 
And the men came forward and lighted a light. It had 
been a herd of cattle. We marched all night long. Just 
at daybreak, we got to a place called Summit Springs. 

I said, " Father, we will stop here and wait for Lee, as 
we promised we would." So we unsaddled our horses, and 
I lay down to have a little sleep, having had no sleep for 
two nights. No sooner did I lie down and fall asleep, than 
my father called me and said, — 


Digitized by 


1 62 Life Among the Piutes. 

" Eat something." (They had cooked some of the sheep 
meat.) You cannot sleep until your brother comes." 

I tell you I did eat, for indeed I was really starved. 
When I got through, I asked if the men were out watching. 
Just as father said " Yes," came a warning alarm. Every- 
body jumped for their horses. Mattie and I ran and got 
our horses, jumped on their bare backs, and went to meet 
the man who brought the warning. I said, " What is the 

"We are followed by the Bannocks." His horse was 
almost falling from under him. 

I said, " Jump on behind me." He did so. We gal- 
loped up to the camp. " Oh, father, we are followed." 

"Yes," said the man behind me, "we are followed. 
Egan and his whole band is overtaken and are taken 

" I looked back and saw Lee running, and they firing at 
him. I think he is killed. Oytes is at the head of this. 
I heard him say to the Bannocks, *Go quickly, bring 
Sarah's head and her father's too. I will show Sarah who 
I am. Away with you, men, and overtake them.' " This 
is the news that came to us the morning of the 15 th of 

My father said, " If my son is killed, I will go back to 
them and be killed too. If we are to be killed off for 
what the white people have done to them, of course we can- 
not help ourselves." 

I said, " Father, it is no time to talk nonsense now. Be 
quick, let us go ; for my part, my life is very dear to me, 
though I would lose it in trying to save yours, dear 

My stepmother was crying, so was poor little Mattie, 
Lee's wife, 

" Come, father, give me your orders, as I am going back 

Digitized by 


'The Bannock War. 163 

to the troops. What shall I tell General Howard, as I am 
going to where he is this very day, if the horse can carry 

" Tell him to send his soldiers to protect me and my 

With this message I left my father on the morning of the 
15th of June. Poor little Mattie cried out to me, " Oh, 
dear sister, let me go with you. If my poor husband is 
killed, why need I stay ? " I said, " Come on ! " Away 
we started' over the hills and valleys. We had to go about 
seventy-five miles through the country. No water. We 
sang and prayed to our Great Father in the Spirit-land, as 
my people call God. About one o'clock we got to the 
crossing of a creek called Muddy Creek. We got off our 
horses and had a drink of water, and tied our horses till " 
they got cooled oif while we gathered some white currants 
to eat, for that is all we found. Now we watered our 
horses and found a narrow place to jump them across, and 
off again towards our soldiers as fast as our horses could 
carry us. We got to the crossing of Owyhee River at 
three o'clock ; stopped twenty minutes to eat some hard 
bread and coffee while they saddled fresh horses for us. 
We jumped on our horses again, and I tell you we made 
our time count going fifteen miles to the Sheep Ranch. 
We whipped our horses every step of the way till we were 
met by the officers. Captain Bernard helped us off, I saw 
one of the officers look at his watch ; it was just 5.30 p.m. 
I told the General everything, — how I got my people 
away, how we were discovered and followed by the Ban- 
nocks. Oytes, one of the Snake River Piutes, a leading 
chief, had overtaken Egan, a sub-chief, and his band, and 
driven them back. " Maybe my brother Lee was killed. 
My father is on his way here, and wants you to send him 
some soldiers for protection." When I said this, the officers 

Digitized by 


164 Life Among the Piutes. 

looked at each other, and so did the soldiers and also the 
volunteer scouts, just as much as to say, — " You are lying 
to us." 

I saw Lieut. Pitcher wink at Lieut. Wood. The General 
asked me how many Indians I thought there were in all. I 
told him that my brother Lee thought there were about 
seven hundred in all, — men, women, and children. Then 
the General called the Captain of Volunteers, Mr. Robbins, 
and ordered him to take all his men and go and bring 
Chief Winnemucca to the troops. I called Piute Joe, who 
had killed Buffalo Horn, and told him in a few words 
which way to go to meet my father. 

This was the hardest work I ever did for the government 
in all my life, — the whole round trip, from ib o'clock June 
13 up to June 15, arriving back at 5.30 p.m., having been 
in the saddle night and day ; distance, about two hundred 
and twenty-three miles. Yes, I went for the government 
when the officers could not get an Indian man or a white 
man to go for love or money. I, only an Indian woman, 
went and saved my father and his people. 

" Let us then be up and doing, 
With a heart for any fate ; 
Still achieving, still pursuing, 
Learn to labor and to wait. " 

The next morning was Sunday. The General called me, 
and said, " I want you to go with me as my interpreter and 

I said, " Can I go with Captain Bernard's company ? " 
He said, " Do so. I want you and Mattie with the head- 
quarters." I said, "Which is the headquarters?" He 
said, " We will go to Camp Lyon. The headquarters will 
be habitually with the right column." The General's staff 
in the field consisted of Major Edwin C. Mason, 21st In- 
fantry, Acting Assistant Inspector General ; Captain Law- 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 165 

rence S. Babbitt, Ordnance Department Engineer -and 
Ordnance Officer ; Assistant Surgeon General, Perkins A. 
Fitzgerald, U. S. A., Chief Medical Officer in the field ; 
First Lieut. Ebenezer W. Stone, 21st Infantry, Chief 
Commissary of Subsistence in the field ; First Lieut. Fred. 
H. G. Ecstein, 21st Infantry, R. I. M., Chief Quarter- 
master in the field ; First Lieut. Melville C. Wilkinson, 3d 
Infantry, Aide-de-Camp ; Second Lieut. Charles E. S. 
Wood, 2 1 St Infantry, Aide-de-Camp, Assistant Adjutant 
General in the field. With these officers, Mattie and I 
started for Camp Lyon, and I was as mad as could be 
because I wanted to go right after the hostile Bannocks, 
Mattie and I had to ride in a wagon going to Camp Lyon. 
We met three or four companies of cavalry half way. 
Some of the soldiers cried out, *' Oh, I see they have Sarah 
Winnemucca a prisoner." Mattie and I laughed at this. 
We got to Camp Lyon about three o'clock. It was Sun- 
day. Captain Lawrence S. Babbitt and Lieut. C. Wilkinson 
came down from Silver City, Idaho. Later, we had 
prayers and singing in the evening, as they were all Chris- 
tians but Captain S. Babbitt and the soldiers by the name 
of Moffatt and Musenheimer and Goodwin, and Mattie, — 
four. White men, educated, not Christians ; men that are 
almost born with the Bible in hand. What! not Chris- 
tians.^ Yes, that is just what I mean. Poor General! 
he had some hard words with a citizen who owned a stage, 
because he wanted thirty-five dollars a day to take us to 
Reinhafd's crossing of Malheur River. I stood by them 
when they were talking, and I could hold in no longer. 

"That is the way with you citizens. You call on the 
soldiers for protection and you all want to make thousands 
of dollars out of it. I know if my people had a herd of a 
thousand horses they would let you have them all for noth- 
ing." The General looked at me so funny, and said, 

Digitized by 



i66 Life Among the Piiites. 

" Yes, Sarah, your people have good hearts, better ones 
than these white dogs have." The man would not give in, 
so they had to give him thirty-five dollars and pay all ex- 
penses besides. 

So we left Camp Lyon. The second night we slept at 
Henderson's Ranch, near Keeney's ferry, where Lieuten- 
ant Ecstein, field quartermaster, joined us, and we went 
the next day to Reinhard's Crossing, just in time to meet 
Stuart's column which had already reached that point a 
few hours before us, and had been kept under arms ready 
to move. The weather for the poor soldiers and for us had 
been hot and dry, and the roads very dusty. The country 
of our route was characterized by the usual alkali and sage 
brush, much of it bare and mountainous. At the stone 
house at Reinhard*s Crossing were gathered a number of 
families from the country around. Here I met an enemy, 
whom I had met about eleven days before, to whom I had 
given something to eat when he was almost starved. Then 
he paid it back to me by telling General Howard that he 
saw me at the Malheur Agency, and that I was the one 
that started my people on the war-path. General Howard 
brought him to nie and told me what he had said about 
me. I told the General where I had met him. It was 
about forty miles this side of Malheur Agency. He and 
another man came to my camp almost starved, and I gave 
them their supper and breakfast. " I know the other man 
will not say that of me," I said. I was crying when he 
was talking. Then he came forward and said, "Oh, Sarah, 
I did not mean it, forgive me, Sarah." I said right out, 
"You brute." He turned out afterwards to be the best 
friend I had. We staid there all night, the i8th of 
June. A citizen came in and reported Indians close by. 
The General asked me what I thought about it. I told him 
I did not think there were any Indians within ten hundred 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 167 

miles of us. On the morning of the 19th we marched up 
toward Malheur City about twenty-five miles and camped. 
General Howard asked me if I would be afraid to go with 
a dispatch to Camp Harney. Camp Harney had not been 
heard from for some time. A story having the appearance 
of truth was brought to us that Captain M*Gregor*s com- 
pany had had a disastrous engagement, and had lost the 
most of their horses. The news also reached us that the 
hostiles had abandoned the Stein mountains and gone to 
Harney Valley, and it was probable that the left column of 
Captain Bernard's company had pushed after them. 

Later in the evening General Howard and Lieutenant 
Wilkinson came to us again and said, " Well, Sarah, what 
do you think about going ? " I said, " I am always ready 
to go anywhere you wish me to go." 

" Do you think you would want an escort ? " 

I said, " No, Mattie and I will go alone, for no white 
man can keep up with us. We can go alone quicker than 
with soldiers." 

But Lieutenant Wilkinson said he would go with us, for 
they could not let us go alone, as there were bad white men 
who might harm us, and he would take two soldiers besides. 

" Supposing we were to meet the hostiles, and they were 
to kill me, what would you do ? " 

Poor Mattie was the first to speak. " Sister and I will 
throw ourselves on you and they should kill us first, then 

This made the officers laugh. 

So on the 20th, Sister and I started for Camp Har- 
ney with Lieutenant Wilkinson, Aide-de-Camp, Corporal 
Moffatt and Private Musenheimer. After we had travelled 
about twenty miles. Sister Mattie's horse gave out, and 
Lieutenant Wilkinson took a stage-horse for her. At 
twelve o'clock we stopped for something to eat, for it 

Digitized by 


1 68 Life Among the Piutes. 

was the last place we should see or where we should find 
anything until we got to Camp Harney, a hundred miles 
farther. Here I met another enemy of mine who was un- 
looked for. We three went in when dinner was ready, and 
the two soldiers had their lunch outside. We sat down, 
and the woman came in with coffee. She looked at me, 
and then said, — 

" Well, I never thought I should feed you again. I hope 
they will not let you off this time," 

She then turned to Lieutenant Wilkinson, and said, 
" Why do you take so much trouble in taking her to Camp 
Harney ? Why don't you take her and tie one part of her 
to a horse, and the other part of her to another horse, and 
let them go ? I would see the horses pull her to pieces 
with good grace." 

All this time Lieutenant Wilkinson tried to stop her. 
saying, "You don't know what you are talking about. 
This is Sarah Winnemucca." 

She replied. " I don't care. Rope is too good to hang 
her with.'*' 

Lieutenant Wilkinson said to me, "Never mind her. 
She is crazy." But I could not eat anything. 

Dear reader, this is the kind of white women that are 
in the West. They are always ready to condenm me. 

After dinner. Lieutenant Wilkinson brought me another 

" Now," I said, " it is about sixty miles to the Agency," 
We went past there just a little after dark for fear some of 
the Bannocks were hiding there somewhere. We rode on 
as fast as we could, took a great many short cuts which 
helped us along greatly, and stopped -to rest for hklf an 
hour. We stood guard while Lieutenant Wilkinson slept a 
little while, called him up at the appointed time, and went 
on without stopping again. As we passed the Agency, 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 169 

everydiing was dark and still, as if every living thing was 
dead, and there was no living thing left. This is the way 
it felt as we passed. We travelled on until our Lieutenant 
gave out He would get off his horse and walk awhile. 
We travelled all night long, got to Camp Harney at ten 
o'clock on the following day. Oh, how tired I was I 
Mattie and I went to bed without anything to eat. In the 
evening Major Downey's wife called on me to see if I 
wanted anything. She found me very poorly off for dress, 
and went and got one of her own dresses, for which I was 
very thankful. The next day was Sunday. Lieutenant 
Wilkinson was a minister. He was going to preach to the 
soldiers at ten o'clock, but a courier came riding very fast, 
and reported Bernard's engagement. Bernard had attacked 
the hostiles the morning before, Sunday at nine o'clock 
A.M., surprised and charged their camp, formed and re- 
charged. The enemy rallied. Bernard asked for rein- 
forcements, pressed every man with the utmost speed to 
his and the enemy's position on Silvery Creek, near Camp 
Curry, forty-five miles from Harney. Bernard reported 
only one soldier killed at the time the messenger left him. 
He had four companies of cavalry, his own, Whipple's, 
McGregor's, and Perry's under Bomus. 

This is the report we brought to General O. O. Howard 
at eleven o'clock on Sunday night, distance about forty- 
five miles back on the way we had come Saturday night, I 
was asked to go back that same night, but I was so tired I 
could not. So Lieutenant Wilkinson was ordered back. 
Very early the next morning. Lieutenant Wilkinson and 
Lieutenant Wood, his Aide-de-Camp, left us with Major 
Mason and Major Babbitt to stop with the troops. We 
travelled all day without stopping, got to where sister and 
I had hidden our rations when on our way to meet the 
troops. They were hard bread and caimed baked beans. 

Digitized by 


I/O Life Among the Piutes. 

On the outside it said, " Boston baked beans." It was 
about three o'clock in the afternoon and all the officers 
were very hungry. 

We dined as well as we could. Each man gave one dol- 
lar. Just think of it. It only cost one dollar a plate for 
i>eans baked in Boston. We got into Camp Harney very 
late that night. It took us three days to overtake the 
troops. The same night we got there an Indian woman 
was taken prisoner. They brought her to our tent. I 
asked her about everything. She did not want to tell me 
at first. Sister Mattie said, " If you do not tell us we will 
see why — you had better tell us." She was a Bannock 
woman. Then she was afraid and told us everything. She 
said her people were going right to Umatilla Reservation, 
and as the Umatilla Indians had told Oytes they would 
help them to fight the white people, this was why they were 
going there. She said Oytes had taken her nephew's place as 
chief over the Bannocks. She cried, and said her nephew 
Buffalo Horn was killed at South Mountain. I told General 
^Howard what she said. The next morning she was taken 
to Camp Harney, as she was blind, and the troops were 
ordered to go and have a fight with BaniTocks about fifteen 
miles above us. The volunteer scouts kept coming to re- 
port. They said the Bannocks were waiting to fight there. 
General Howard asked me what I thought about it. All I 
said was, " General, if you find any Indians within two 
hundred miles of here you may say Sarah is telling lies." 

" Then you think these scouts are not telling the truth, 
do you ? " 

" That is what I mean." 

So we pushed on ahead of the troops for a while, and 
sister and I saw something on a high hill above us 
and ahead of us. It looked as if there were a great many 
there. We knew what it was but we did not say anything for 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 171 

we Wanted to see what they would do. At last the bugle 
sounded " Halt ! " Sister said, " Now we will have some 
fun." We just laughed, for we knew what was coming. 
The captain of the volunteer scouts rode up to General 
Howard and said, — 

" General, don't you see them on that hill, yonder ? " 
The General said, " I see something, but I don't see them 

" I do — they are there to fight us. They have a good 
place up there." 

Then General Howard called me and I went up to him. 
All the officers were there together. He said, " Sarah, 
what have you got to say now ? The Indians seem to be 

" I have the same thing to say as before. I see nothing 
but rocks put there to deceive you." 

The officers took out their field-glasses and looked, up 
and said, " Sarah, it surely looks like people there." 

I said, " Well, I can't say any more. Do as you think 

One of them gave me a field-glass and told me to look. 
I said, " I will show you that there are no Indians there. 
I will go up there." 

So I started to go, when General Howard called me back 
and said, " I don't want you to get killed. I will send the 
troops up." 

They found everything just as I had told them. 

How they did laugh that evening when we camped for 
the night. It is a way by which we Indians do deceive the 
white people by piling rocks on each other and putting 
round ones on the top to make them look like men. In 
this way we get time to get away from our enemy. 

In the morning we took up the trail in good earnest. 
At the dawn of the 28th we were at the end of the 

Digitized by 




,i,jr^ ^ft UE S ger s. and * 
r rjtr. is^ *3y human 

_.^>.' A 3«;Aoe was ma' 

^_2u ^* ^ nvxacGt to he 

j\^ tr :3i^ hum* 3^1 
, -^ *^-=- ^ <^ by Anoiht 

^^ .%t- T3>cf were n 
^^ -x.'^io^ their Uv 
,-»:^iT o,x>r^ and t 

- ^-^ -- ^^n: ?o angtv 

_N^» ifthi|^ped in 
^ -. • -»ro< v^nvd us, k> 
. - - - _ >w-*^ hull agaiR 

<r^ "^ 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 173 

bannocks anri 

^ ^^^^"^^ wav 7^^^^^^ ^^^™ '^ ^^ ^''"^'^' ^"^ ^^ only went 

^e deep cJ-^^ ^^"^Pecl. The cavalry pursued through 

Wagons cro^^" ^^ ^^^ south park of the John Day River. 

^%hest rid ^^ ^ "^^""fain range gradually working to the 

^' great di^* ^^* ^"^^ ^ ^^"^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ' ^" J"^3^ 

train into th ^^^^^ ^^^ encountered in getting the wagon 

^ve miles in ^^^^ ^^^^^yof the South Fork, the hill being 

^^^ding of , ^^^^^^ ^"d so steep as to cause constant 

iintiJ after t »^^^°"^' It took from two o'clock p.m. 

^^^J into th ^^ ^'^^^^^ at night to worry the train down this 

'^^^ On T ] ^^^' '^^^ cavalry was four days ahead of 

*^^"rty mile ^ ^' ^^ proceeded down South Fork about 

saw evidenV^ Stewart's Ranch, on Murderer's Creek, and 

^ians. \i ^ of a skirmish between volunteers and In- 

^^e bodies i ^^^^^^ ^^^ I went on ahead, and came to where 

On t\iQ thv^ f ^^ '"^^ ^^^^ buried by our advanced scouts. 

valley, near th "^"^^ ^^^ '^r\.i3,rytry went into camp in John Day 

replaced b "^°"^^ ^^ South Fork. The wagon train was 

^"^^y- JulJ ^^^'^"'""^^s that came to us from Canyon 

^^^ ^ pushed ^^"^'"^^ Howard with his staff and sister 

McGregors ^ ^^ ^^ ^^^ advance and came up with the 

^^ ^ere mar^h- ""^""^ """ "^^^ ^^^"^ ^^ ^^"^ ^^"^y* ^^'^^ 

^ear lif^ y^ toward us, just as if he was running for his 

/;^e said,«Oh, somebody shot at me. They 

General Ho^ward asked him if they were 

^'^ after me:- 

Indians, jj^ . '* 

*hite men " ^^'^' "^ don't know, but I think they are 

your horse." ^ ^'^'^ shoot: 
Jhisman would tie 

He is no 

like an Indian, and they 
^-t you. Take your feathers off 

3ians -^feathers bea?'^^'^"^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^ ^"^ belonging to 

^^^^hi^ horse 

"■^^i red rags — on the mane and 
^^ tiller than the man who talked 

Digitized by 


172 Life Among tlie Piutes, 

wagon-road in the direction where the Bannocks were 
moving. Yet rough and impassable as the way appears it 
was necessary, with the means of transportation then ex- 
isting, to move the wagons across this mountain region. 
Just think — we were going to overtake them with wagons 
and well-mounted on fresh horses every day, and we with our 
wagons only. We might as well say an Indian will over- 
take white men in building railroads. 

On the morning of the 28th of June we were rid- 
ing on. At six A. M. a rough wagon trail was all the 
road. We arrived in camp at eight p. m. Bernard goes 
some miles further. He sends back word of Indian pony 
tracks just ahead, and that they turned back suddenly. 
Sister and I again said, " Not so." We were again on the 
way. The 29th of June was very cold, snowing all 
day. We went on ahead of the troops. At this place we 
came to a large camp. From fifteen hundred to two thou- 
sand Indians had been there, and there I found they had 
left a scalp behind them. It was the first scalp I had seen 
in my life, for my people never scalped any one. The 
Bannocks had left it there. We waited there until the 
troops came up. I ran to the General and showed him 
what I had found. All the officers gathered round to 
look at it. They all said it was a real scalp. Colonel 
Bernard said, "Sarah, you have done more than any of 
us. You have rescued your father and your people, cap- 
tured the stage-driver's whip, and now you have captured 
a scalp from the Bannocks." . General Howard said, — 
"Yes, Sarah, you must keep them." All this time Mat- 
tie was looking round. She called to me. I ran to her 
and left my scalp and when I went back to get it some 
one had taken it, for which I was very glad. We camped 
here and the cavalry went on ahead of us. . General How- 
ard ordered Colonel Bernard to go in hot pursuit of the 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 173 

Bannocks and overtake them if he could, but he only went 
a little way and camped. The cavalry pursued through 
the deep caiion of the south park of the John Day River. 
Wagons cross a mountain range gradually working to the 
highest ridge. Oh, such a time as we did have ! On July 
I, great difficulty was encountered in getting the wagon 
train into the deep valley of the South Fork, the hill being 
five miles in descent and so steep as to cause constant 
sliding of the wagons. It took from two o'clock p. m. 
until after ten o'clock at pight to worry the train down this 
hill into the camp. The cavalry was four days ahead of 
us. On July 2, we proceeded down South Fork about 
thirty miles to Stewart's Ranch, on Murderer's Creek, and 
saw evidences of a skirmish between volunteers and In- 
dians. Here sister and I went on ahead, and came to where 
the bodies of two men were buried by our advanced scouts. 
On the third of July the infantry went into camp in John Day 
valley, near the mouth of South Fork. The wagon train was 
replaced by pack-mules that came to us from Canyon 
City. July 4, General Howard with his staif and sister 
and I pushed on to the advance and came up with the 
McGregors, and came on with them to Fox Valley. While 
we were marching along in the hot sun, some one came run- 
ning his horse toward us, just as if he was running for his 
dear life. He said, " Oh, somebody shot at me. They 
are after me."> General Howard asked him if they were 
Indians. He said, " I don't know, but I think they are 
white men," 

" No wonder ; you look just like an Indian, and they 
take you for such and shoot at you. Take your feathers off 
your horse." 

This man would tie everjrthing he could find belonging to 
Indians — feathers, beads, and red rags — on the mane and 
tail of his horse. He is no other than the man who talked 

Digitized by 


174 Life Among the Piutes. 

so badly to me at the crossing of Malheur River, who, I 
said, was my best friend afterwards. He was a newspaper 
reporter of the name of Parker from Walla-Walla. It was 
he who sent word to the " Chronicle " that there were no In- 
dians on the reservation after the Bannock war. The next 
day we went on with M'Gregor's company, and overtook 
Bernard and the remainder of the cavalry. On July 6, the 
cavalry reached Canvass Prairie, in Oregon, passing 
through much timber. At this place a scout came and 
told us of another encounter of the volunteers with the 
Bannocks, and a rumor that the Umatillas had not joined 
the hostiles, but fought them. Just then came up another 
party of scouts, saying the Indians >yere coming right over 
the hill. All the cavalry drew up in line of battle. Sister 
and I put whips to our horses and rode up the hill. Col- 
onel Mason and Major Babbitt rode up also. We could 
not see anybody. About two miles off on a mountain we 
saw some scouts going up with white linen coats. These 
are the reporters of the so-called noble citizens. Then 
Colonel Mason waved his hat to the troops to come on. 
The evening of the seventh brings our advance ta Pilot 
Rock, where a junction is formed with the troops sent 
thither by Colonel Wheaton. At this place I told General 
Howard we had passed the Bannocks. Maybe they will 
go back the same way they came, or will go through the 
Blue Mountains. They know all the troops are on this 
side of the mountains. Just then three volunteer scouts 
rode up, and said the Indians were about fifteen miles from 
there. General Howard asked how many they thought 
they were. They said, " We think fifteen hundred, maybe 
more." General Howard asked me if I would go to them 
and see if they would surrender without fighting. I said, 
" I will." " I will see after supper," he said. All the offi- 
cers bad a talk over it. At supper he said, "Sarah, I 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 175 

will not send you. If you should get killed your father will 
blame me. I will send some scouts to watch their camp dur- 
ing the night." At the battle of Birch Creek General Howard 
formed a junction with his troops. Here they thought they 
would have an effective battle with the Bannocks and cap- 
ture the fugitives. I did not think so, because the Ban- 
nocks had the best of it. They "had the timber on their 
side. I knew they would go into the timber and get away, 
and this I told the General, but he would not believe it. 
Seven companies of ist cavalry and twenty of Robbins' 
scouts, with a Gatling gun, proceeded some three miles 
toward Battle Creek, when we met the two scouts who re- 
ported that the Indians were in position on a height about 
three miles from us. Bernard, taking the trail, moved 
quickly into position over the troublesome front hill, the 
east of which is fenced by a caiion, and over a mile in the 
ascent. The cavalry sped from hill to hill till in the vi- 
cinity of the enemy, strongly posted on a rocky crest. Oh, 
what a feeling I had just before the fight came on ! Ev- 
ery drop of blood in my veins went out. I said to sister, 
" We will see a great many of our people killed to-day, and 
soldiers, too." Then the bugle sounded "Fire!" I 
heard the chiefs singing as they ran up and down the front 
line as if it was only a play, and on our side was nothing 
but the rq)orts of the great guns. All my feeling was 
gone. I wanted to go to them. During the engage- 
ment the advance was made along several approaches in a 
handsome manner, not a man falling out of the ranks. 
The different sides of the hill were steeper than Mission- 
ary Ridge ; still the troops, though encountering a severe 
fire that emptied some saddles and killed many horses, did 
not waver but skirmished to the very top, the enemy aban- 
doning his position and running to the next height in the 
rear, slightly higher and specially crowned with natural 

Digitized by 


1/6 Life Among the Piutes. 

defences of lava rock. In twenty minutes this neight was 
charged from different sides and taken. Then the sol- 
diers commenced a rapid pursuit of the flying Indians, who 
abandoned their spare horses that were in the field, per- 
haps two hundred. They were mostly jaded and worth- 
less. They also left provisions and ammunition and camp 
material. The hostiles struck for the thick pines which 
crest the Blue Ridge, and again made a stand, using the 
trees for defences. Again the cavalry pressed them in the 
front and on the flanks, and in a few minutes dislodged 
them a third time, and pushed them four or five miles fur- 
ther into the mountains* The rough countr}' and the great 
exhaustion of horses and men caused a cessation of the pur- 
suit for that dajr. In this battle I did not see an Indian fall, 
nor one killed, and there were five enlisted men wounded, 
and probably twenty horses killed. The Indian women 
and their children and their best horses in droves were 
well out of the way before the battle began, and all thfe offi- 
cers and scouts said they were making for Grande Ronde, 
but I for one said, " No, they will go back or through Blue 
Mountains and Malheur Agency, and back to their own coun- 
try," but they all said the flight was in tfiat direction. Cap- 
tain Bernard was entitled to special credit for this engage- 
ment ; yes, indeed, for the entire campaign, and his officers 
and men did as well as brave and true men can do. Dear 
reader, if you could only know the difficulties of this wil- 
derness you could then appreciate their loyal ser\'ice. The 
fight commenced at 8 a. m., under a hot sun and with 
no water. The whole of it was watched by the general 
commanding. The bullets were whistling all round us, arid 
the general said to me and Mattie, " Get behind the rocks, 
Sarah, you will get hit." I did not feel any fear. I asked 
the general to let me go to the front line where the sol- 
diers were fighting. At last I heard Oytes say, " Come 
on, you white dogs, — what are you waiting there for ? " 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 177 

I again asked the general if I might go to the front line, 
to hear what Oytes was saying, and he said, "Go, SaraK." 
I put the whip to my horse, and away I went to where the 
Gatling gun was placed. I jumped off my horse and stood 
alongside of it, but Oytes did not speak again. Then Gen- 
eral Howard rode up and took his stand at the Gat- 
ling gun. This battle lasted from 8 a. m., to 12:30 
p. M. Where do you think the citizen volunteer scouts were 
during the fight? The citizens, who are always for ex- 
terminating my people (with their mouths only), had all 
fallen to the rear, picking up horses and other things which 
were left on the battle-field, and after the battle was over 
they rode up to where we were and asked where were the 
Indians. Gen. Howard said, — 

"Go look for them." 

Sometimes I laugh when I think of this battle. It was 
very exciting in one way, and the soldiers made a splendid 
chase, and deserved credit for it ; but where was the kill- 
ing ? I sometimes think it was more play than anything 
else. If a white settler showed himself he was sure to get 
a hit from an Indian ; but I don't believe they ever tried 
to hit a soldier, — they liked them too well, — and it cer- 
tainly was remarkable that with all these splendid firearms, 
and the Gatling gun, and General Howard working at it, 
and the air full of bullets, and the ground strewn with 
cartridges, not an Indian fell that day. One scout came 
running in to General Howard, and said an Indian was 
lying in a stream at the bottom of a deep cafion, tied to 
the tail of a horse, and dead. 

General Howard always sent sister and me to look after 
the Indians when he heard any were killed ; and he sent 
us down that steep cafion that day to see if we knew the . 
dead Indian; but we found nothing, though we went two 
miles along the stream. It was a false report, just such an 

Digitized by 


178 Life Among the Piutes, 

one as citizen-scouts give. They take good care not to go 
too near Indians, and the officers know well enough what 
they are good for. If they wanted to find enemies, they 
would not send them to reconnoitre. They know very well 
that they would shirk any such duty, Have not the In- 
dians good reason to like soldiers?. There were no Ous- 
ters among the officers in Nevada. If the Indians were 
protected, as they call it, instead of the whites, there would 
be no Indian wars. Is there not good reason for wishing 
the army to have the care of the Indians, instead of the 
Indian Commissioner and his men? The army has no 
temptation to make money out of them, and the Indians 
understand law and discipline as the army has them ; but 
there is no law with agents. The few good ones cannot do 
good enough to make it worth while to keep up that sys- 
tem. A good agent is sure to lose his place very soon, 
there are so many bad ones longing for it. 

We camped here for the night. Here the poor soldier 
who was wounded so badly was brought to us, and Mattie 
and I watched over him. I asked him if I could do any- 
thing for him ; but he shook his head. Later in the even- 
ing General Howard came with a book and read, and 
prayed with him. There was no one with him during the 
night. Sister and I went to see him once ; but at four 
o'clock in the morning he cried out for some one to come 
to him. We went to him, poor fellow, and I asked him 
again if I could say or do anything for him. He looked 
at me, but could not speak, and died in a few minutes. 
He was buried at the same place, under a -beautiful pine 
tree. Late in the fall he was taken up by the Odd Fellows 
and carried to Walla-Walla, Washington Territory. 

On the morning of the twentieth of July we struck the 
Indian rear guard in the canon of the north fork of the 
John Day River. This canon is about one thousand and 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 179 

two hundred feet deep ; and as the walls are nearly per- 
pendicular, our command actually slid down the trail that 
we were following into the stream, which rushed down the 
bed of the cafion, and we had to climb up the opposite 
side, leading our horses, the ascent being so steep that sev- 
eral of our pack animals fell over backwards into the 
stream and were lost, while trying to follow the puzzling 
zig-zags of the trail. The Indians that constituted their 
rear guard numbered about forty. They had fortified them- 
selves near the brow of the hill, on the trail, so as to com- 
mand it for several hundred feet below their line of work. 
The scouts, numbering about eight, were a short distance 
ahead of us, who were in the advance guard. The Indians, 
who werq in ambush, permitted them to get almost up to 
their line, when the accidental discharge of a carbine in 
the advance guard, caused them to believe that they were 
discovered, and they at once fired upon the scouts, killing 
H. H. Froman, a courier, who was with the advance, and 
severely wounding a scout, John Campbell. The advance 
guard was Company E, ist Cavalry, under Capt. W. H. 
Winters. At the sound of the firing, he deployed his com- 
pany, dismounted, and took a strong position, which was 
re-enforced by sending forward Company H, under Lieu- 
tenant Parnell, and Company L, under Lieutenant Shelton, 
and they extended the line to the right by pushing Com- 
pany G, under Captain Bernard and Lieutenant Pitcher, up 
the side of the cafton to a projecting point which com- 
manded and protected the trail and the bench of land 
upon which we had corralled our stock. As soon as this 
formation was completed, which occupied us about an hour 
and a half, and was made under fire of the enemy, the line 
moved forward, and the crest of the precipitous hill, or, 
more properly speaking, bluff, was reached, not soon enough 
however to give us a chance at the foe, who Ijad mounte(} 
and fled. 

Digitized by 



1 80 Life Among tfie Piutes. 

At this fight, a little girl-baby was found by a sergeant, 
who picked it up. He said it was lying on its little face. 
He carried it to the oflScers, and Captain McGregor was 
the first who gave it something to eat. It was ginger-snaps, 
sugar and water. They also took two Indian women. 
One of them I knew. She had returned during the night, 
looking for her lost children, and the other was a Bannock 
woman. I asked the woman I knew if she would be so 
kind as to look out and care for the baby for me. She 
said she would, and General Howard ordered some con- 
densed milk for me, so that the woman might feed it, and 
I told her how to fix it. General Howard also told me to 
take good care of its little shirt and all its beads, and if 
they should ever surrender, we could find its mother. We 
had the little baby three months. 

Now we went on as quickly as possible to form a junc- 
tion with all the troops, at what is. called Burnt River Mea- 
dows. There were only eight companies of soldiers. We 
went in hot pursuit of the Indians, crossed the Blue Moun- 
tains range by very steep and difficult trails, and descended 
through the Granite Creek Valley. 

We camped here. All the troops were out of rations. 
We were waiting for the return of the commissary from 
Baker City, when we met at Bunit River Meadows. San- 
ford divided his rations with all, after which the command 
took up the Indian trail and moved on rapidly on Wednes- 
day and Thursday. On Thursday morning we met with 
Mr. Parrish. We had stopped to rest the cattle at Little 
Creek. He came right up to me and held out both his 
hands, saying, — 

" Oh, Sarah, little did I think when I left you all, it would 
come to this ! Oh, it is too bad 1 I can't believe it ! " 

The tears were running down his cheeks, and Mattie and 
I could not stop our tears. This is the only time and the 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, i8i 

last that I have seen him since he left us. He rode with 
us a-while, but at last said good-by to us, and went back to 
Granite City. We went on and camped for the night. 
About four o'clock a citizen rode up. It was Reinhard's 
blacksmith, A. L. Johnson. He sold some horses here, 
which once belonged to my people. They were bought by 
Mr. Parrish while he was with us. After he sold them he 
stayed with the troops a long time. On Friday we went to 
the vicinity of Ironsides Mountain. Here we camped at 
the crossing of Canyon City and Malheur City Wagon 
Road. That night General Howard asked me if I would 
go to the agency to ascertain if some of the flying Indians 
had not put in an appearance there, about twenty miles 
down the canon. So very early next morning, sister and 
I started with eight Indian scouts and Lieutenant Wilkin- 
son. We got to the agency about eleven o'clock ; not a 
sign of anybody had been there since June. We staid there 
all night, and next morning we went hack the other way, — 
that is, on the east side of the mountain called Castle Rock, 
and back to our place of starting. Oh, what a hard ride 
we had that day ! To my sorrow we found the troops had 
left the same day. We had gone the day before and 
thought no one was left behind, and I said to Lieutenant 
Wilkinson, — 

" I am so tired I Can Mattie and I stop a little and 

"Oh, Sarah, I am afraid something might happen to 

I said I did not think I could go any farther. " Well, 
then, Sarah, I would not stay long, will you ? " 

We had not been there but a little while when three men 
rode up. One of them said, "Come, boys, here are the 
girls, and the lieutenant is not with them." 

At this I said to sister, " Quick, get on your horse," and 

Digitized by 


1 82 Life Among the Piutes. 

off we went without stopping. They called out to each 
other, saying, "Catch them, boys, let us have a good 

Over the rocks and down the hill we went without stop- 
ping, and got to the agency at six o'clock. As soon as I 
rode up the General knew something was the matter. I 
told him all, and the men were discharged right there and 
then. This was the second visit of the troops to the Mal- 
heur Agency, July 27. We found still a little flour, and the 
gardens comparatively undisturbed. It was very hard to 
see the poor, weary and hungry troops ; and the next day 
Captain Miller with his company of the 4th Artillery 
reached us by the shortest road, from Bucher City, with 
plenty of rations. At this time the General told me to send 
one of the women to her people and tell them to come in 
and be peaceful. If they would lay down their arms and 
be good, they could have their reservation back to live upon 
all their lives, and then they could be well fed by the 
government. This is what General Howard told me to say 
to the woman. I did as I was told, and I said more than 
he did. I said, "Tell them I, their mother, say come 
back to their homes again. I will stand by them and see 
that they are not sent away to the Indian Territory." With 
this word the woman went away. 

Oh, I saw the most fearful thing during that summer's 
campaign. Poor Egan, who was not for war, was most 
shamefully murdered by the Umatilla Indians. He was 
cut in pieces by them, and his head taken to the officers, 
and Dr. Fitzgerald boiled it to get the skull to keep. A 
man by the name of Rattlesnake Jack scalped an old 
Indian who was lost, because he was almost blind, and his 
wife was blind too. He was leading his wife the best he 
could through the woods. At last they came to the road. 
They had gone but a little way when the man rode up to 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 183 

them, and the poor woman could only hear her husband's 
groans as the man was cutting him to pieces. At last his 
groans died away. She felt so thankful that she could not 
see! She said every minute she cried out to her Spirit 
Father that he might kill her right away, and not let her 
person be outraged, for she would rather die a hundred 
deaths than be outraged by a white man. At last she heard 
his footsteps coming towards her, " and I knelt down," 
she said, " and held my head down fox the blow, for my 
heart was already dead within me. Instead of giving me 
a blow on my head he put his foot on the back of my neck, 
and brought my head down to the ground. I felt him take 
hold of my hair and the top of my head, and felt his knife 
cutting off my scalp. Then the blood ran down my hands 
and face, for I had my two hands over my face. He 
kicked at me, and stamped my head to the ground, and 
then I heard him go away. Oh, if he had only killed me, 
but he left me to starve and to die a slow death. I was 
left in this way for a long time, and lay just where I was 
left. It must have been some days, for my mouth and 
throat were dry, and I was dying. To my great joy I heard 
some noise — I thought so, but was not quite sure — but I 
heard it again more plainly. It sounded like a wagon 
coming. Yes, it was a wagon. Oh, I was so glad, it was 
the white people, and that they would kill me. * Oh, come 
quick and kill me ! * — then I heard them talking very softly. 
It was a white woman and her children. Oh^ if she would 
be like the wife of our agent, Parrish's brother, who used 
to come and give me sugar and coffee because I was blind 
(that was our white lily). I heard them come nearer and 
nearer until they drove up close to where I was lying. I 
tried to get up but could not. I tried to speak but I could 
not. I wanted to say, *Kill me quick.' I heard the 
woman make a noise as if she was crying. Some one came 

Digitized by 


184 Life Among the Piutes. 

and raised me up. Of course I did not know whether it 
was a woman or a man. They tried to make me stand up 
but I could not. * Oh, my good Spirit Father, speak to their 
hearts that they may kill me. I want to go where my hus- 
band has gone. For many years he has taken care of me. 
I don't want to live.* This was my thought when some one 
came and put a cup to my lips. I quickly swallowed some, 
thinking it might be poison, but it was only water. The 
first swallow almost killed me. Then they gave me more, 
then a little while after more, then they took me up and 
put me in the wagon and took me away. It was a long 
time before they stopped, and then I was taken out of the 
wagon. Then food was given into my hands which I did 
not care to eat, but the good woman kept putting some- 
thing into my mouth. Afterward she went away, and when 
she came again I held out my hands to feel • of her dress, 
and for the first time I cried out, saying, * Oh, my sister, 
who are you ? Sarah Winnemucca > Have you come to 
save my life 1 Oh, dear sister, I don't want to live — don't 
try to save me.* I said all these things thinking it was you. 
When she did not answer me, then I knew it was not you. 
Whoever that woman was she took good care of me for a 
long time. She would often wash my head, and when I 
got well again I thought of my poor husband. Oh, I can 
hear him now ! " 

This is what the poor blind woman told me after the war 
was over, and she is still living at the Yakima Reser\'ation, 
where I saw her last; Her husband had always taken such 
beautiful care of her. 

On the night that Egan was murdered I saw it all in my 
sleep. I had a vision, and I was screaming in my sleep 
when Mattie waked me and asked what was the matter. I 
told her that Egan was murdered, and I saw it all, saw his 
head cut off, and saw him cut in pieces. This is true. 

Digitized by 



The Banfwck War, 185 

Many of my family have seen things in their dreams that 
were really happening. 

On the 27th of July Mattie and I left General O. O. 
Howard and went with General Forsythe. We left Mal- 
heur Agency, and we left my baby, as they called it, with 
the rest of the prisoners. General Forsythe and myself 
were ordered to go throughout the whole country and pick 
up small parties of hostiles. General Howard said all 
captives would be held as prisoners of war, subject to the 
orders of the department commander. So we marched 
from the Malheur Agency to Stein's Mountains. We 
marched along the north fork of Malheur, at noon crossed 
the big Malheur River,- travelled along its banks about 
five miles and camped. No sign of my people. We took 
up our march again the next day, went about thirty miles, 
and on the next day about forty miles, for there was no 
water any nearer. Some of the poor soldiers had to leave 
their horses, which gave out, and walked in the hot, burn- 
ing sun. My heart used to ache for the poor soldiers. The 
next day we camped at the very place where my brother 
Lee met me and threw a blanket over me to hide me from 
the Bannocks, at Juniper Lake, Stein's Mountains. On 
the fifth day we camped east of Stein's Mountains. A 
good many of the soldiers went on foot. After leaving this 
camp, we had to go across a desert of forty-five miles with- 
out water. I told General Forsythe how far we should have 
to go without water, but I said, " About six miles ahead of us 
is a man who has a farm, that has a great many horses and 
cattle on it. If he is there maybe you can buy some 
horses for your men, or maybe he will let you have a 

_ The General gave orders to his men that they must 
change about with their horses. 

I also told him, " If there is nobody living there Mattie 

Digitized by 


1 86 Life Among the Piutes 

and I will go on ahead about twenty miles. There used to 
be a spring there, and if it is not dried up maybe there 
would be enough for the men to drink, but not for the 
horses. We would put up a white flag at the spring and 
go on. It will be at the left. If the spring is dry we will 
not put up any flag." 

We got up to the man's place and he was not at home, 
but thanks be to God, the good man, when he came, gave 
General Forsythe two wagons and barrels to take water in, 
so we were all right. 

About two o'clock, my sister's horse gave out. It could 
not walk at all, so we took the saddle off and left him. 
Sister would have to walk and then I would walk a while. 
In this way the march was kept up all day, till we camped 
at a place called " Old Camp C. F. Smith." All that time 
there were no fresh signs of my people, and the citizens 
living along the road reported that no Indians had been 
seen by them for ten or twelve days. We had travelled 
from the Malheur Agency one hundred and forty-four 
miles. The first night we camped there sister Mattie and 
I saw a signal-fire of distress and loneliness, and for help 
also. All the officers came to me and asked me the mean- 
ing of it. I told them it was the signal-fire of one Indian. 
They asked me how I knew. I said, " I am an Indian 
woman and understand all kinds of signal-fires.^' 

" Well, what do you think ? Shall all the companies go 
over there and send out scouting-parties to find out the 
fact that the signal-fires were built by only one Indian ? " 

I said, " Just as you think best." 

They went off by themselves and had a long talk. By- 
and-by General Forsythe came to me and said, " Sarah, 
are you in earnest in telling me there is only one Indian 
there ? " 

I said, " General Forsythe, if what I have told you is not 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 187 

true, I have never told a truth in all my life, and I want 
you to go over there and hunt the mountain over and over, 
and if you find more than one Indian there you can say 
Sarah has deceived you." 

He said, " Well, Sarah, I will send some citizen-scouts 

The scouts were sent the next day, and they were gone 
two days, and came back and reported the signal-fire made 
by one Indian on foot. They said they could not find 

Some citizen who came said there were some of my 
people at his house, so the General sent me up there to get 
them to go after the one Indian. I got four of them to 
come and see the General. He told them to go and get 
the man; he would give them ten dollars each if they 
brought him. They were willing to go if he would give 
them horses. They went, and on the second day they 
brought him. I knew him. He was one of the best In- 
dian men Mr. Parrish had to work for him. 

Fresh horses were got here from citizens, and everybody 
was ready to go on. Later I said to Mattie, " I think I 
had better go and see father and my brothers at Camp 
McDermitt. You can stay with General Forsythe and 
come on with him to-morrow. If you say sq, I will go to- 
' night and get there some time during the night. Will you 
let me, Mattie ? " She said, " AVhy, dear sister, you can 
go, I am not afraid ; and another thing, my brother will be 
here in a little while, and, therefore I will not be alone." 
We had sent for her brother to come to us. 

It was seventy miles to Camp McDermitt. I said to the 
• General, — 

" I want to go to Camp McDermitt, to see my father 
and brothers, and Mattie will stay with you. I will meet 
you at Antelope Springs." 

Digitized by 


1 88 Life Among the Pintes, 

General Forsythe said, ** Can Mattie talk English well 
enough to talk to me ? " 

I said, "Yes." 

" Well, you will want some one to go with you, to see 
that no harm comes to you.*' 

I said, " No, General, I can go alone. It will be night." 

" No, Sarah, I must send some one with you. I will 
send Lieutenant Pitcher and two soldiers." I said, "Very 
well, but I had as. soon go alone as not." 

So everything was made ready for my going. About 
four o'clock, nine of my people came. Among them was 
Mattie's brother. We were both made happy by it. At 
six o'clock we were ready for our journey. I kissed my sis- 
ter and away I went. Oh, what riding we did all night 
long. We did not stop to rest all night long, nor did the 
lieutenant stop our horses from trotting from the time we 
started, and about four o'clock the next morning he 
stopped and said to the men, "Fix my saddle." I said, 
"Lieutenant, can I go on ? " He said, " Yes." Oh, what 
a relief it was to gallop my horse ! At last I stopped and 
looked back, but could not see them coming. I would not 
wait for them, and got to Camp McDermitt just at day- 
break. I saw a great many encampments there, — yes, as 
many as six hundred camps. I rode up to one camp and 
said, " Here, you are sleeping too much ; get up." 

One of the women jumped up and said, " Who is it ? 
What is it?" 

"Where is my brother's camp? Where is Natchez?" 
" Ah, here, next to us." 

I rode up to the camp. " Halloo ! Get up. The enemy^ 
is at hand ! " 

My brother jumped up and said, " Oh, my sister ! " He 
helped me off my horse and said to his wife, " Jump up, 
wife, and make a fire, sister is so cold." I had nothing on 

Digitized by 



The Bannock War. 189 

but my dress. A blanket was put around me. Fire was 
soon made, and I sat down to warm myself. 

Brother stood up and said, " My children, i hope none 
of you have forgotten your duty to your Spirit-Father in 
your sleep. I hope you have passed the beautiful night in 
peaceful sleep, and are all ready to do his work during the 
day. I am sorry to say there is no report yet from the 
young men, saying that we are all safe ; no one to say there 
is no enemy here ; none of them have come and said, * I 
have done my duty.* I am afraid, my young men, you are 
not doing your duty ; for I have here in my camp a warrior 
who has just arrived. Come, one and all, and see for your- 

My poor papa was the first one who came up. He ran 
up and took me in his arms and said, " Oh, my poor child I 
I thought I never would see you, for the papers said you 
were killed by the Bannocks. We have all mourned for 
you, my child. Oh, when I heard you, my darling, who 
saved my life for a little while longer, had gone first, I 
thought my heart would break 1 " 

I put my face down on his bosom. 

He said, " Look up, dear ; let me see if it is really my 

I looked up. The tears were running down his cheeks. 
I looked round, and I saw tears in everyone's eyes. I told 
them eveiything : who was killed, what their names were, 
and how many prisoners we had, about our baby, and the 
four women, and the poor blind woman, who was scalped, 
and about poor Egan, who was cut to pieces. I told them 
about Oytes, too ; and they all said they hoped when the 
soldiers caught Oytes, they would hang him. " If they 
don't, we shall kilt him ourselves," they said, " for he is to 
blame for all." 

It was Oytes who first carried some of my people over 
to the Bannocks. 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


I go Life Among the Piutes, 

I told them the soldiers did not kill Egan, but the Uma- 
tilla Indians, who made General O. O. Howard believe they 
were friendly to the whites, and at the same time they were 
helping the Bannocks, because they are more civilized and 
know the value of money. They would go out nights for 
them, and lay out plans for them, and made them believe 
they were their best friends, and then U-ma-pine, who was 
acting as chief, and the Umatillas, that were with the Ban- 
nocks, got word that the white people offered a reward of 
one thousand dollars to any one who would bring Egan, 
alive or dead. This is why U-ma-pine, the Umatilla Indian, 
killed poor Egan, and I said, " He is with us." 

"What, with you?" 

" I mean with the troops, and there are three more be- 
sides him." 

After I was through talking, Leggins, my cousin's hus- 
band, got up and said, — 

" My brothers, I think we ought to go and kill him. We 
have never done them any harm, and have always been 
kind to them when they came on our reservation. We have 
given them presents, yes, more than they ever gave us. 
Oh, my brother Winnemucca, and you, my dear Natchez, 
you are great friends to our soldier-fathers. You and your 
sister can demand of them to give him up to us." 

Here I jumped up and said, " I have not told you all. 
At the time they took Egan, they also took a great many 
women prisoners, and most of them are young girls," 

I sat down. My brother Natchez got -Hp and said, — 

•* My children, this is a very sad thing indeed, and if we 
should go and kill this U-ma-pine, I am afraid we will never 
get back our women and girls. I want you all to listen 
well to what I am going to say of what I think it is best 
for us to do. We will go and have a talk with them right 
before General Forsythe's whole command, and say to 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War, 191 

them, * Friends, we have come to talk to you. Now tell us 
what our sub-chief, Egan, has done to you that you should 
kill him, and have him cooked in the way you did. Was 
he good to eat ? Oh, my dear friends, some of you will 
suffer the same as Egan did at your hands. If we had 
made war with you, and had taken prisoners in battle, we 
would not say anything ; but you helped the thing along, 
and for four years you have come on the Malheur Reser- 
vation, and told Egan and Oytes to make war against the 
whites. You have called them fools for staying on the 
reservation to starve ; and another thing you have helped 
the Bannocks to fight the soldiers. You are nothing but 
cowards; nothing but barking coyotes; you are neither 
persons nor men. We were never your enemies, for we 
have let you come to our country and always welcomed 
you. We have never been to your country. Now we 
cease to be friends, and after the soldiers quit fighthig with 
the Bannocks and with Oytes' men, we will make war with 
you for the wrong you hav? done us, if you do not return 
our women and girls whom you have taken as prisoners. 
As soon as the war with the Bannocks is over, we want 
you Umatillas to bring us our women and children. We 
will then show you what fighting is. My friends, it must 
be a beautiful sensation to cut a man or a woman to pieces, 
and then skin their lieads and fasten them on a pole, and 
dance round them as if you were indeed very happy. Do 
you know there is not money enough in the world to make 
me go and fight a people who have not done me any harm ? 
You have done this year after year against your own peo- 
ple. Are you never going to stop ? You and the Snake- 
headed Indians, who are called the Wascoe Indians, and 
the Columbia River Indians and the Nez Percys, are 
about alike : you are always ready to take up your arms 
against your own people. And what do you gain by ii ? 

Digitized by 


192 Life Antony the Piutes, 

You neither get praised by the so-called government, nor 
do you get anything more than we do. No : you are as 
poor as we are, we, who have never taken our own brother's 
scalp and fastened it on a pole and danced round it to show 
our white brothers how brave we are. 

" My friends, here I stand before you, an old man, the 
snow has fallen upon me and it has left its mark, and my 
hair is white. My hands are clean from the shameful work 
you have done to Egan. 

" Why, friends, our great soldier-fathers, (General How- 
ard and General McDowell, have asked me to furnish them 
twenty-five of my men as scouts for them. General How- 
ard and General McDowell are my best soldier-fathers; 
yet they could not give me money enough to take up arms 
against any tribe of Indians. 

" Now, my dear children, I will go with my sister, and I 
will say all to the Umatillas that I have said to you, right 
before General Forsythe and all the officers. I think it is 
right and just, and I also think it is the only way we can 
get back our women and girls." 

This is what my brother Natchez said to his men ; and 
one and all of them said they were always ready to hear 
our chief, and to. do what he says. 

Brother then said, " How many want to go with me ? " 

They answered, " We will all go." 

Brother said, "I am afraid the soldiers will think we 
have come to fight them, if they see so many of us coming ; 
therefore I think about thirty of us will be enough to go." 

While the talk was going on. Lieutenant Pitcher came 
and said, — 

" Sarah, we will be ready to go back this afternoon at 
one o'clock." 

" All right, lieutenant," I said. 

Then I said, " Lieutenant, this is my father Winnemucca, 

Digitized by 


T}ie Bannock War. 193 

and this is my brother Natchez ; and father and brother 
and thirty men are going with us to see the Umatillas who 
are with you." 

The lieutenant said, "Very well, they can go with us." 

I had had no sleep yet. In those days 1 never knew 
what it was to be tired or sleepy. 

My father then got up and spoke, saying, " I am 
ashamed to have to speak to you, my children. I am 
ashamed for you, not for myself. Where is one among 
you who- can get up and say, * I have been in battle, and 
have seen soldiers and my people fight and fall. Oh ! for 
shame ! for shame to you, young men, who ought to have 
come with this news to me I I am much pained because 
my dear daughter has come with the fearful things which 
have happened in the war. Oh, yes ! my child's name is so 
far beyond yours ; none of you can ever come up to hers. 
Her name is everywhere and every one praises her. Oh I 
how thankful I feel that it is my own child who has saved 
so many lives, not only mine, but a great many, both 
whites and her own people. Now hereafter we will look 
on her as our chieftain, for none of us are w orthy of being 
chief but her, and all I can say to you is to send her to the 
wars and you stay and do women's work, and talk as 
women do. 

" Now we will go and see the man-eaters. I have never 
shot anything in all my life but what is good to eat. In 
my way of thinking and in my father's way of thinking, no 
man ought to kill anything unless it is good to eat. We 
were obliged to fight our white brothers at one time. It 
was only five months after my poor father's death. If he 
had lived it might not have happened. I have promised 
to be a friend to white people, and I have done just as I 
said, although they have killed my people here and there. 
I have not unburied my bow and arrows yet, and I hope, 

Digitized by 


194 ^if^ Among the Piutes, 

my children, th4t you will keep our promise to the end of 
the world, and then it will be wdl with us. Now we must 
get something to eat before we go. You have all heard 
what your chief has said. There is one among you who did 
not go out to help defend his people. He is tall and strong, 
but he is a coward. Put a woman's dress upon him, and 
give him woman's work to do. Let him dig roots, and pre- 
pare food, and make moccasins, and all the rest of his life 
let him wear women's clothing, and not go among the 

My dear readers, such is the respect my people have for 
their chiefs, that that man still wears a woman's dress, and 
does women's work, and will continue to do so all his life. 
My people, and I think no Indian people, feel the same 
respect for a made chief. Sometimes chiefs are chosen by 
others and set over a tribe. There is no respect felt for 
such chiefs. That breaks up the family life that is the 
best thing for Indians. I do not like to think of my peo- 
ple separated from each other. Their love for their chief 
holds them together, and helps them to do right. A tribe 
is a large family. If a chief appoints sub-chiefs to help 
him take care of his people, they are respected unless they 
do wrong ; but as I said before, no man can be a leader 
among Indians who is not a good man. His band may 
break away from him at any time if he does not do as his 
great chief does. 

My father went on to say, " Some of the young men can 
go now and get our horses, and then we will go to see the 

We got ready and started to go to a place called Ante- 
lope Sp.ings, where we met the troops. All the officers 
were glad to see my father and brothers and all my peo- 
ple. Rations were issued to them. I told General For- 
sythe what my people came for and he was glad. 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 195 

After they had had their supper, all the officers were 
called, and the Umatillas also. They all came but one 
and that was U-ma-pine. General Forsythe asked them 
where U-ma-pine was. They said they did not know. 
" Well, we want him here," the General said, " go and get 
him. These chiefs want to talk to you all." 

One of them went but soon came back and said he could 
not find him. He was afraid and staid in the hills that 
night, and my brother had to talk to the others. I have 
already told you, my readers, what he meant to say to 
them. The officers all cheered my brother after the talk 
was over. They told him that U-ma-pine and his people 
would suffer yet for what they had done. " General How- 
ard," they said, " is not going to let them off as easily as 
they think. We will see that they turn all the prisoners 
over to us, after the Bannocks all surrender." 

My people staid all night with us. The next morning, 
very early, we were ready to go on. But Mr. U-ma-pine 
could not be found anywhere. My people went along with 
us some ten miles to get a sight of the brave man who killed 
Egan. At last they gave it up and said good-bye to me, 
and went back to Camp McDermitt. Here my brother 
Lee said, " Sister, can I go with you and my wife ? " 

I said, " You can if you wish to." 

We travelled about forty miles that day on account of 
no water. A good many of the soldiers' horses gave out. 
We camped here at a place called, " The Three Forks of 
the Owyhee River." The canon is very deep ; on the 
right hand side of the river are very high mountains. 

My brother told me a ver^^ funny story about the sol- 
diers' doings at this place. " A few years ago we were on 
that hill yonder. The soldiers were on that steep moun- 
tain side. We then called out to them. They stopped, 
and they were so frightened that they shot at us across, 
and one and all of us called out to them again." 

uigiiized by VjOOQ IC 

196 Life Among tke Piutes.- 

Here my brother laughed so that I thought he would 
never stop. , At last he said, " Dear sister, they had a 
cannon on a mule, and they shot at us before they took 
it off the mule's back, and the poor mule fell down the 
steep mountain." 

Here we all laughed. Brother said, " Some of our peo- 
ple said if the soldiers were going to shoot mules at them 
they had better go away, and they travelled all night with- 
out stopping. They only said that to make fun.'' 

After travelling three days we got to Silver City. We 
went to Tinker's Mill, on Tinker's Creek, and camped for 
the night. 

General Forsythe received instructions to divide his 
command, — Sanford to accomplish what had been given 
the whole, and Bernard to deviate southward and gather 
up the Indians who might be lurking in the neighborhood 
of Duck Valley, South Mountain, and the region on to Mc- 
Dermitt, General Forsythe himself to go at once to Boisd City 
to take command of the troops to the south and east of Bois<^ 
City. I was ordered to go with Captain Bernard and Captain 
Winter's company to Duck Valley, to gather up my people, 
and Brother Lee, w4th his wife, to go with some of our people 
who were there. They were told to go with them to Camp 
McDermitt, Nevada, and two days after we left Silver City 
we went to Duck Valley, and found some of my people 
there. They were very glad to see me, I told them that 
the order was that all our people were to go to Camp Mc- 
Dermitt. The captain told me to tell them that they must go, 
because the citizens might mistake them for Bannocks, and 
would kill them> He tcld me to say that the citizens were 
very angry with the soldiers because they would not kill all 
the Indians they could find. " We don't want," he said, 
" to kill good Indians, but we want to be your friends, and 
we don't want to see the citizens kill you. That is why I 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 197 

want you to go where the soldiers can look out for you 
all." Among these was the father of Piute Joe, who 
killed Buffalo Horn at South Mountain. He said to me, — 

"Tell our soldier-father that we want to go, but are 
afraid to. If he will send some of the soldiers with us we 
will only be too glad to go, or give us a paper and then the 
citizens won't kill us." 

I told Captain Bernard what Piute Joe's father had said, 
and he gave him a letter and he said, " We will go to-mor- 
row." The next day we went back the same way we came, 
and camped at a place called Trout Spring. 

The officers caught a great many trout that afternoon. 
We staid all night at that place. That evening the captain 
said to me, — 

" Sarah, would you like to take a letter to Silver City for 
me ? The companies will not go that way. We will cut 
across the country from here if you will go. You can get 
upon the stage and go to Bois^ City and leave your horse 
there. You will get there before we shall." 

I said " Yes, I will go." The distance was fifty miles, 
so I started at seven o'clock in the morning. I said to 
myself, " I will see how fast I can ride, and at what time I 
will get there." 

I did not meet any one on the way. I rode into Silver 
City at two o'clock in the afternoon, and the next morning 
I was in the stage on my way to Bois^ City, Idaho, and 
went to see General Forsythe. He found me a place to 
stop at, and sent me to see the prisoners at Fort Boisd I 
went, but they would not speak to me. They were 
Shoshones. I went in first to see the men. While I was 
talking with the men, one of the women came in and said 
in Shoshone, " Don't tell her anything. She will tell the 
soldiers what you say." One of the men said, " I wonder 
who she is." 

Digitized by 


198 Life Among the Piutes. 

"I will tell you who. I am if you will ask me; if you 
will tell me why you are here, maybe I can help you." 
I waited to see if they would say anything. I again 
said, — 

" Will you tell me where you were when the soldiers took 
you ? " They would not speak yet. "Your soldier-father 
sent me here to ask you what you want to do," but they 
would not say anything to me. 

I went and told General Forsythe that his prisoners 
would not speak to me. I staid in Bois^ City ten days. I 
was then told to go with Captain McGregor and Sanford's 
command, two companies of cavalry, going the way of 
Baker City, and then to Camp Harney, Oregon, where I 
expected to see a greai many of my people, and Bannocks 
too, for it was reported that the old woman whom I had 
sent away to my people to tell them to come back to the 
Malbeur Agency was there. After travelling six days in 
that burning sun we arrived at Canyon City, and camped 
about three miles down the river. I thought to myself I 
will go and see Mrs. Parrish, for she was living at Canyon 
City. I saw all the officers going up, and I wished to go 
too and see my dearest friends. I rode into the city, and 
saw a negress that I knew who used to cook for a woman 
by the name of Moore. She ran up to me and said, " Oh, 
Sarah, I am afraid some one will do you harm. There is 
a woman living here who swears that the first Indian she 
sees she will shoot, because she had her husband killed 
during the war." 

Just then a man came, up to me and gave me a letter. I 
did not stop to read it, but ran with it to the officers who 
were right across the street from where I was. I gave it to 
Captain McGregor. " Come," said he, "go to the camp as 
fast as your horse can carry you." We ran across to get 
our horses. I got upon mine and rode down to the camp 

Digitized by 


The Bannock War. 199 

as if I was riding for dear life. I did not know why Cap- 
tain McGregor sent me for till he came down from the city. 
He then told me it was the sheriff who wanted to arrest me 
as a witness against Oytes. 

I did not see my dear friend, Mrs. Parrish (the white 
lily) that time. We went on to Camp Harney and got 
there two days afterwards, and found all the Bannocks 
and the Snake River Piutes there. After we got rested I 
sent for the baby that was found on the battle-field. I went 
to every camp with the child, but coulj^ not find its mother. 
The next day I got its little yellow shirt and its beads, as 
General Howard had told me to keep them, so the little 
one's mother might find her child by its clothes and beads. 
I did as I was told by him, and again Mattie and I went 
to find its mother. At last we came to a camp where there 
was a young woman. I saw at once they were in deep 
mourning, and I knew them too. I said, — 

"John Westler, I have here a little .girl baby that was 
found on the battle-field, and if I can I want to find her 
father and mother. It may be a Bannock child." 

The father of the little child got up and looked at the 
baby. He cried out, " Oh my baby, my child, my lost little 
girl ! " Its mother got up also and came. They wept with 
joy. They said everything that was beautiful to Mattie and 
me for saving their little child. They told me most fearful 
things that happened the same day that the child was lost. 
They said there was a little baby that was crushed against 
the trees, as the soldiers fought them through the thick 
timber. They said they were ruryiing for their dear lives 
through the timber for miles and miles. The timber was 
very dense ; so much so, that it was impossible to travel with 
pack-animals, except by packing them on top, and not on 
the side as my people usually pack them. In that timber 
these children were crushed, and this little one was thrown 

Digitized by 


200 Life Among the Piutes, 

from its basket and left on the road in the hurry and 

All my people and the officers called this little baby my 
baby, and they named it Sarah. 

Everything went on aright until October, when an order 
came from Washington, saying that all the Indians that 
belonged to the Malheur Agency should be gathered to- 
gether at Camp Harney, and be ready to go to the Mal- 
heur Reservation for the winter. So I was told to go to 
Camp McDermitt iind bring all my people to Camp 
Harney. Company A was first to go with me. So every- 
thing was got ready, and we started for Camp McDermitt. 
It took six days. At last we arrived at the camp. I told 
my people what the Big Father in Washington said. Some 
of my people said, " We know there is something wrong. 
We don't like to go." But the officers told them there was 
nothing to fear. They would be sent to the Malheur 

My people asked me over and over again. I told them 
I did not know any more than they did, therefore I could 
not say. At last I said, "What need have you to be 
afraid? You have not done anything. All the officers 
know that you have acted for the whites. General How- 
ard knows all about you. None of you have fought the 
whites. You have all done your duty to the whites during 
the campaign." 

After talking with them so long, my brother Natchez told 
them to go. He said to them, " Qur soldier-fathers will 
see that you are all right* They say you are to go back to 
the Malheur Agency." Then Leggins said, " Reinhard is 
there yet. We ought not to go there while he is there, for 
we shall die with hunger. We all know how we suffered 
while we were there." 

Leggins said to me, " You, our mother, must talk to the 

Digitized by 



The Bannock War, 201 

soldier-fathers, and have them send him away before we go 
back to the reservation. Tell them before we leave here 
that if we go there we will starve, and then have another 

I told the commanding-officer what my people said about 
Reinhard. Then the commanding-officer, Captain Wag- 
ener, got angry and said, — 

" I don't want so much talk ; if you don't go peacefully, 
I shall have to make you go. If we had not got orders 
from Washington, we would not say so. We are just like 
yourselves : we are ordered and we have to do our work. 
To-morrow you must all get ready to go." 

My popr people were in great trouble. They talked all 
night, and then at last said, " We will go." Early the next 
morning, the horses were ready, and we were all ready to 
start. You should see how my people love ach other. 
Old and young were crying at parting with each other. 
Brother Natchez went with us for two days. We got to 
Camp C. F. Smith. Here my brother left us to go back. 
In six days more we arrived at Camp Harney, and Leggins 
told the officers he and his people did not want to camp 
with the Bannocks, and the rest of the wards. 

Before we left Camp McDermitt, this man Leggins was 
appointed chief over them all by my brother and father. 
The commanding-officer. Major Cochrane, told Leggins he 
could camp wherever he liked. At this I was very glad. 
So was he. The major is very humane, — a very kind 

After we were at Camp Harney two weeks, my people 
were told to come to the commissary, and soldiers* clothing 
would be issued to them. 

After they got their clothes they looked so nice I But my 
heart ached for the women and children, for there was no 
clothing for them. There were no calicoes to be issued to 

Digitized by 


202 Life Among the Piutes. 

them. But it could not be helped. It was not as if they 
had it and would not issue it to them, as all the agents do. 
My people knew this, and they had nothing to say. All 
this time we were so happy. Leggins would often say or 
ask me, " When are we to go to the agency ? " 
I said, " I have not heard anything about it" 

Digitized by 




One day the commanding officer sent for me. Oh, how 
my heart did jump ! I said to Mattie, " There is bad 
news." Truly I had not felt like this since the night Egan 
was killed by the Umatillas. I got ready and went down 
to the office, trembling as if something fearful was waiting 
for me. I walked into the office. Then the officer said to 
me, — 

" Sarah, I have some news to tell you and I want you to 
keep it still until we are sure if it will be true." 

I then promised I would keep it still if it was not too aw- 
ful bad news. 

He said, " It is pretty bad." He looked at me and 
said, " Sarah, you look as if yoii were ready to die. It is 
nothing about you ; it is about your people. Sarah, an or- 
der is issued that your people are to be taken to Yakima 
Reservation, across the Columbia River." 

I said, " All of my people ? " 

" No, not your father's, but all that are here." I asked, 
"What for?" 

He said he did not know. 

I said, " Major, my people have not done anything, and 
why should they be sent away from their own country ? 
If there are any to be sent away, let it be Oytes and his 
men, nunibering about twenty-^five men in all, and the few 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

204 Life Among the Piutes. 

Bannocks that are with them. Oh, Major ! if you knew what 
I have promised my people, you would leave nothing un- 
done but what you would try not to have them sent away. 
Oh, Major ! my people will never believe me again." 

"Well, Sarah, I will do all I can. I will write to the 
President and see what he thinks about it I will tell him 
all you have said about your people." 

I was crying. He told me to keep up a good heart, and 
he would do all he could for me. 

I went home and told Mattie all, and she said, "Well, 
sister, we cannot help it if the white people won't keep 
their word. We can't help it. We have to work for 
them and if they get our people not to love us, by telling 
what is not true to them, what can we do ? It is they, not 

I said, " Our people won't think so because they will 
never know that it was they who told the lie. Oh ! I know 
all our people will say we are working against them and 
are getting money for all this." 

In the evening Mattie and I took a walk down to their 
camp. There they were so happy ; singing here, singing 
there and everywhere, I thought to myself, " My poor, 
poor people, you will be happy to-day ; to-morrow or next 
week your happiness will be turned to weeping." Oh, how 
sad I was for them ! I could not sleep at night, for the sad 
thing that had come. 

At last one evening I was sent for by the commanding 
officer. Oh 1 how can I tell it ? My poor heart stood still. 
I said to Mattie, " Mattie, I wish this was my last day in 
this cruel world." 

I came to myself and I said, " No, Mattie, I don't mean 
the world. I mean the cruel, — yes, the cruel, wicked, 
white people, who are going to drive us to some foreign 
country, away from our ow,n. Mattie, I feel so badly I 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair. 205 

don't think I can walk down there. ^ Mattie said, " I will 
go with you." 

We then went down, and Major Cochran met us at the 
door and said, " Sarah, are you sick ? You look so badly." 

I said, "Na" 

He then replied, " Sarah, I am heartily sorry for you, 
but we cannot help it. We are ordered to take your peo- 
ple to Yakima Reservation." 

It was just a little before Christmas. My people were 
only given one week to get ready in. 

I said, " What ! In this cold winter and in all this 
snow, and my people have so many little children ? Why, 
they will all die. Oh, what can the President be thinking 
about ? Oh, tell me, what is he ? Is he man or beast ? 
Yes, he must be a beast ; if he has no feeling for my peo- 
ple, surely he ought to have some for the soldiers." 

" I have never seen a president in my life and I want to 
know whether he is made of wood or rock, for I cannot for 
once think that he can be a human being. No human be- 
ing would do such a thing as that, — send people across a 
fearful mountain in midwinter." 

I was told not to say anything till three days before 
starting. Every night I imagined I could see the thing 
called President. He had long ears, he had big eyes and 
long legs, and a head like a bull-frog or something like 
that. I could not think of anything that could be so in- 
human as to do such a thing, — send people across moun- 
tains with snow so deep. 

Mattie and I got all the furs we could ; we had fur 
caps< fur gloves, and fur overshoes. 

At last the time arrived. The commanding-officer told 
me to tell Leggins to come to him. I did so. He came, 
and Major Cochrane told me to tell him that he wanted 
him to tell which of the Bannock men were the worst, or 

Digitized by 


2o6 Life Among the Piutes. 

which was the leader in the war. Leggins told him, and 
counted out twelve men to him. After this talk, Major 
Cochrane asked me to go and tell these men to come up 
to the office. They were Ojrtes, Bannock Joe, Captain 
Bearskin, Paddy Cap, Boss, Big John, Eagle Eye, Charley, 
D. E. Johnson, Beads, and Oytes* son-in-law, called Sur- 
ger. An officer was sent wdth me. I called out the men 
by their names. They all came out to me. I said to 
0)rtes, — 

" Your soldier-father wants you all to go up to see him." 

We went up, and Oytes asked me many things. 

We had to go right by the guard-house. Just as we got 
near it, the soldier on guard came out and headed us off 
and took the men and put them into the guard-house. 
After they were put in there the soldiers told me to tell 
them they must not try to get away, or they would be shot. 

" We put you in here for safe-keeping," they said. " The 
citizens are coming over here from Canyon City to arrest 
you all, and we don't want them to take you ; that is why 
we put you in here." 

Ten soldiers were sent down to guard the whole encamp- 
ment, — not Leggins' band, only Oytes' and the Bannocks. 
I was then ordered to tell them to get ready to go to Yakima 

Oh, how sad they were ! Women cried and blamed their 
husbands for going with the Bannocks ; but Leggins and 
his band were told they were not going with the prisoners 
of war, and that he was not going at all. 

Then Leggins moved down the creek about two miles. 
At night some would get out and go off. Brother Lee and 
Leggins were sent out to bring them back again. One 
afternoon Mattie and I were sent out to get five women 
who got aw^y during the night, and an officer was sent 
with us. We were riding very fast, and my sister Mattie's 

Digitized by 



^ The Yakima Affair, 207 

hor§e jumped on one side and threw her off and hurt her. ^ 
ITie blood ran out of her mouth, and I thought she would 
die right off ; but, poor dear, she went on, for an ambulance 
was at our command. She had great suffering during our 

Oh, for shame I You who are educated by a Christian 
government in the art of war ; the practice of whose pro- 
fession makes you natural enemies of the savages, so called 
by you. Yes, you, who call yourselves the great civiliza- 
tion ; you who have knelt upon Plymouth Rock, covenant- 
ing with God to make this land the home of the free and 
the brave. Ah, then you rise from your bended knees and 
seizing the welcoming hands of those who are the owners 
of this land, which you are not, your carbines rise upon 
the bleak shore, and your so-called civilization sweeps in- 
land from the ocean wave ; but, oh, my God ! leaving its 
pathway marked by crimson lines of blood, and strewed 
by the bones of two races, the inheritor and the invader ; 
and I am crjdng out to you for justice, — yes, pleading for 
the far-off plains of the West, for the dusky mourner, whose 
tears of love are pleading for her husband, or for their chil- 
dren, who are sent far away from them. Your Christian 
minister will hold my people against their will ; not because 
he loves them, — no, far from it, — but because it puts 
money in his pockets. 

Now we are ready to start for Yakima. Fifty wagons 
were brought, and citizens were to take us there. Some of 
the wagons cost the government from ten dollars to fifteen 
dollars per day. We got to Canyon City, and while we 
camped there Captain Winters got a telegram from Wash- 
ington, telling him he must take Leggins' band too. So 
we had to wait for them to overtake us. While we were 
waiting, our dear good father and mother, Mr. Charles W. 
Parrish, came with his wife and children to see us. My 

Digitized by 



208 Life Among the Piutes, 

people threw their arms round him and his wife, crying, 
" Oh, our father and mother, if you had staid with us we 
would not suffer this." 

Poor Mrs, Parrish could not stop her tears at seeing the 
people who once loved her, the children whom she had 
taught, — yes, the savage children who once called her 
their white-lily mother, the children who used to bring hef 
wild flowers, with happy faces, now ragged, no clothes 
whatever. They all cried out to him and his wife, saying, 
" Oh, good father and mother, talk for us ! Don't let them 
take us away ; take us back to our home ! " He told them 
he could do nothing for them. They asked him where his 
brother, Sam Parrish, was. He told them he was a long 
way off ; and then they bade us good-by, and that was the 
last they saw of him. 

While we were waiting for Leggins, it snowed all the 
time. In t^'o days the rest of my people overtook us. It 
was so very cold some of them had to be left on the road ; 
but they came in later. That night an old man was left in 
the road in a wagon. The next morning they went back 
to get the wagon, and found the old man frozen to death. 
The citizen who owned the wagon did not bring him to 
the camp ; but threw him out of his wagon and left him ! 
I thought it was the most fearful thing I ever saw in my 

Early the next morning, the captain sent me to tell Leg- 
gins that he wanted him to help the soldiers guard the pris- 
oners and see that none of them got away. He said the 
Big Father in Washington wanted him to do this, aiid then 
he and his people could come back in the spring. I went 
to tell Leggins ; but he would not speak to me, neither 
would my brother Lee. I told him all and went away. 
When I got back, the captain asked me what he said. I 
told him he would not speak to me. 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair. 209 

" Did you tell him what I told you to ? " 

"I did." 

" Go and tell the prisoners to be ready to march in half 
an hour." 

We travelled all day. It snowed all day long. We 
camped, and that night a woman became a mother ; and 
during the night the baby died, and was put under the 
snow. The next morning the mother was put into the 
wagon. She was almost dead when we went into camp. 
That night she too was gone, and left on the roadside, her 
poor body not even covered with the snow. 

In five days three more children were frozen to death, 
and another woman became a mother. Her child lived 
three days, but the mother lived. We then crossed Colum- 
bia River. 

All the time my poor dear little Mattie was dying little 
by little. 

At last we arrived in Yakima on the last day of the 
month. Father Wilbur and the chief of the Yakima In- 
dians came to meet us. We came into camp about thirty 
miles from where the agency buildings are, and staid at this 
place for ten days. Another one of my people died here, 
but oh, thanks be to the Good Father in the Spirit-land, 
he was buried as if he were a man. At the end of the ten 
days we were turned over to Father Wilbur and his civil- 
ized Indians, as he called them. Well, as I was saying, 
we were turned over to him as if we were so many horses 
or cattle. After he received us he had some of his civilized 
Indians come with their wagons to take us up to Fort 
Simcoe. They did not come because they loved us, or 
because they were Christians. No ; they were just like all 
civilized people; they came to take us up there because 
they were to be paid for it. They had a kind of shed made 
to put us in. You know what kind of shed you make for 

Digitized by 


210 Life Among the Piutes, 

your stock in winter time. It was of that kind. Oh, how 
we did suffer with cold. There was no wood, and the snow 
was waist-deep, and many died off just as cattle or horses 
do after travelling so long in the cold. 

All my people were dressed well in soldiers' clothes. 
Almost all the men had beautiful blue overcoats; they 
looked like a company of soldiers, but we had not been 
with these civilized people long before they had won all 
my people's clothes from them. Some would give them 
one buckskin for an overcoat and pants, and some of them 
got little ponies for their clothes, but the ponies would 
disappear, and could not be found in the country after- 
wards. Leggins had a great many good horses, which were 
lost in the same way. My people would go and tell the 
agent, Wilbur, about the way his people were treating 
them, and the loss of their horses ; but he would tell them 
their horses were all right on the reservation somewhere, 
only we could not find them. My people would ask him 
to tell his people to tell us if they saw our horses, so that 
we might go and get them. He told his^ Christian and 
civilized Indians, but none of them came to tell us where 
our horses were. The civilized Indians would tell my 
people not to go far away, for the white people would kill 
them ; but my cousin, Frank Winnemucca, and his sister's 
son, who was named after our good agent, Samuel Parrish, 
were out hunting their horses. They were gone eight days. 
They travelled along the Yakima River, and saw an island 
between Yakima City and the reservation. They swam 
across to it, and there they found their horses, and two of 
the Christian Yakima Indians watching them. They 
brought them back. After that it was wo^se than ever. All 
our best horses were gone, which we never did find. My 
Meride was found three months afterwards. They were 
using my horse as a pack-horse. It was so lean the back 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair, 211 

was sore. I took it to Mrs. Wilbur to show her what the 
Yakima Indians were doing to our horses. I asked her if 
I could turn the horse into their lot. She told me I could, 
but the horse was gone again, and I have never seen it 
since. ^. x 

We had another talk with Father Wilbur about our 
horses, but he kindly told us he did not wish to be troubled 
by us about our horses. Then my people said, — 

" We have lost all our clothes and our horses, and our 
father says he does not want to be troubled by us." My 
people said everything that was bad about these people. 

Now came the working time. My people were set to 
work clearing land ; both men and women went to work, 
and boys too. They cleared sixty acres of land for wheat. 
They had it all cleared in about ten days. Father Wilbur 
hired six civilized Indians to plough it for them; these 
Indians got three dollars a day for their work, because they 
were civilized and Christian. 

It was now about the last of April. I was told to tell my 
people that he had sent for clothes for them, and it was 
already at the Dalles. He was going to send seventeen 
wagons down, and have them brought right off. I told my 
people what he said, and I assure you they were very glad 
indeed, for they were almost naked. No money, — no, 
nothing. Now our clothing came ; everything you could 
wish or think of came for my poor, dear people — blankets 
of all kinds, shawls, woollen goods, calicoes, and every- 
thing beautiful. 

Issuing day came. It was in May. Poor Mattie was so 
sick, I had to go by myself to issue to my people. Oh, 
such a heart-sickening issue! There were twenty-eight 
little shawls given out, and dress-goods that you white 
people would sift flour through, from two to three yards to 
each woman. The largest issue was to a woman who had 

Digitized by 


312 Life Among the Piutes. 

six children. It was six yards, and I was told to say to 
her she raust make clothes for the children out of what was 
left after she had made her own ! At this my people all 
laughed. Some of the men who worked hardest got 
blankets, some got nothing at all ; a few of ..the hats were 
issued, and the good minister, Father Wilbur, told me to 
say he would issue again later in the fall, that is, blankets. 
After the issue was over, my people talked and said, — 

"Another Reinhard!' — don't you see he is the same? 
He looks up into the sky and says something, just like 
Reinhard." They said, "All white people like that are 
bad." Every night some of them would come and take 
blankets off from sleeping men and women until all were 
gone. All this was told to the agent, but he would not help 
my poor people, and Father Wilbur's civilized Indians 
would say most shameful things about my people. They 
would tell him that they were knocking their doors in, and 
killing their horses for food, and stealing clothes. At one 
time they said my people killed a little child. Their Indian 
minister, whose name was George Waters, told me one of 
my women had been seen killing the child. He slid the 
child's head was cut to pieces. I said to brother Lee, — 

"We will go and see the child." 

I asked the white doctor to go with us to see it. I told 
him what had been said. They had him all wrapped up, 
and said they did not want anybody to see hirh. George 
was there. I said, — 

"We must see him. You said our people had killed 
him, and that his head is cut in pieces." So the doctor 
took off all the blankets that were wound round him. 
There was no sign of anything on him. He had fallen into 
the river and had been drowned. 

On May 29, my poor little sister Mattie died. Oh, how 
she did suffer before she died ! And I was left all alone. 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair, 213 

During this time, all the goods that were brought for us 
were sold to whoever had money. All the civilized Indians 
bought the best of everything. 

Father Wilbur said to ray people the very same thing that 
Reinhard did. He told them he would pay them one dol- 
lar a day. My people worked the same, and they were paid 
in clothes, and little money was paid to them. They were 
told not to go anywhere else to buy but to this store. At 
this, my people asked him why he told them that the 
clothes were theirs. At this Mrs. Wilbur said they had to 
sell them in order to hold their position. This is the way 
all the agents issue clothing to the people. Every Indian 
on that reservation had to pay for everything. 

For all the wagons they ever got they were to pay one 
hundred and twenty-five dollars, if it took ten years to pay 
it. I know this is true, because the agent told me to tell 
my brother Lee so, and he told Leggins the same if he 
wanted wagons, and that they could pay him little by little 
until they had paid it all. 

We had the finest wheat that ever was raised on the res- 
ervation, for my people pulled out all the cockle and smut. 
The civilized Indians were so lazy they would not clean 
their field, and their wheat was so bad that after it was 
made into bread it was as black as dirt. I am sorry to say 
that Father Wilbur kept our wheat for his white friends, and 
gave us the bad wheat, and the bad wheat was ground just 
as you would grind it for your hogs. The bad flour made 
us all sick. My poor people died off very fast. At first 
Father Wilbur and his Christian Indians told us we could 
bury our dead in their graveyard ; but they soon got tired 
of us, and said we could not bury them there any more. 

Doctor Kuykendall could not cure any of my people, or 
he did not try. When I would go to him for medicine for 
them, he would say, "Well, Sarah, I will give you a little 

Digitized by 



"^ sad r ^^^ to p-o u-*^.'"oney „, '^e©*^ ^ ivort^ ■, 


Over ' 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


214 Life Among the Piutes. 

sugar and rice, or a little tea for him or her " ; he would 
say laughing, "give them something good to eat before 
they die." This is the way the agent treated us, and then 
they dare to say that they are doing all they can for my 
people. I say, my dear friends, the minister who is called 
agent, says there will be or there is a time coming when 
every one is going to give an account of all he does in this 
life. I am a little afraid the agent will have to give an 
account of himself, and say, " I have filled my pockets 
with that worthless thing called money. I am not worthy 
to go to heaven." That is, if that book you civilized peo- 
ple call the Holy Bible is true. In that, it says he who 
steals and tells lies will go to hell. Well, I am 'afraid this 
book is true, as your agents say ; and I am sure they will 
never see heaven, for I am sure there is hardly an agent 
but what steals a little, and they all know that if there is a 
God above us, they can*t deny it before Him who is called 
God. This was in July, 1879. 

We were now going to have a camp-meeting, and some 
visitors were coming from the East. Bishop Haven and 
his son and daughter were coming. The agent told me to 
be sure and keep my people away, as they were very poorly 
dressed. I did not do* as I was told. My poor people 
were almost as naked as they were born into the world ; 
for the seventeen wagons of supplies were not issued to 

When the time came, I came with all my people, and 
camped near, the agent's house, and during the meeting I 
made them all come and sit down on the benches that 
Father Wilbur made for his civilized and Christian Indians. 
I wanted all to see how well we were treated by Christian 

Day after day my people were begging me to go east and 
talk for them. I told them I had no money to go with just 

Digitized by 



The Yakima Affair. 215 

then ; but I would as soon as I got some, for I had a little 
money coming to me from the military government. 

The military authority is the only authority that ever paid 
me well for my interpreting. Their pay to interpreters is 
from sixty-five dollars to seventy-five dollars, and the lowest 
is sixty dollars per month. For this pay one could live. 
All the agents pay to interpreters is from thirty dollars to 
forty dollars. One has to live out of this money, and there 
is nothing left. 

I always had to pay sixty dollars a month for my board 
(or fifteen dollars a week) when I was working for an agent. 
When I was working for the government they gave me my 
rations, the same as they did to the soldiers. My last ap- 
pointment was given me at Washington in 1879. It was to 
be very small pay. I wrote to the Secretary of the Inte- 
rior (Mr. Schurz), telling him I could not pay my board 
with that; but he never answered my letter, and so it 
stands that way to this day, and I never got a cent of it. 
But their pet, Reinhard, without an Indian on the reserva- 
tion, could be paid three or four years. I have worked all 
the time among my people, and never been paid for my 
work. At last my military money came. I told Father 
Wilbur I wanted to go back to see my people. At first 
he said I could not go; he stood a minute, and then 
said, — 

" Well, Sarah, I can't keep you if you want to go. Who 
is to talk for your people ? " 

I said, " Brother Lee can talk well enough." 

Then he said, " You can go after the camp-meeting is 

Now commenced our meetings every day. I went and 
got all the little children and came with them myself, and 
sat down, and then went into the pulpit and interpreted the 
sermon to my people. Right here, my dear reader, you 

Digitized by 


2i6 Life Among the Piutes. 

will see how much Father Wilbur's Indians are civilized and 
Christianized. He had to have interpreters. If they were so 
much civilized, why did he have interpreters to talk to them 1 
In eighteen years could he not have taught them some 
English ? I was there twelve months, and I never heard an 
Indian man or woman speak the English language except 
the three interpreters and some half-breeds. Could he not 
have had the young people taught in all that time ? A 
great many white people came to see the Indians. Of 
course one who did not know them might think they were 
educated when they heard them sing English songs, but I 
assure you they did not know what they sang any mor^ 
than I know about logarithms. So I w^nt away in No- 
vember, and stopped at Vancouver, Washington Territory, 
to see General O. O. Howard. I told him all that Father 
Wilbur was doing to my people, and that I should try to go 
to Washington. Then he gave me a letter to some of his 
friends in Washington. I went straight from Vancouver to 
San Francisco. My brother Natchez and others met me 
there and we staid and talked about the agents, and none 
of them came forward to say, " Sarah is telling lies." If 
they ever do I shall say more. I was lecturing in San 
Francisco when Reinhard tried so hard to get my brother 
Natchez to send some of our people to the Malheur 
Agency. Yes, he offered much money for each one he 
would bring to the reservation, but my brother told him he 
did not want his people to starve, and he was never going 
to tell them to go there. When Reinhard could get no 
Indian to go there he got the very man whose life my 
brother saved during the Bannock war. Because my 
brother had saved his life he thought he had nothing to do 
but go and get all my people to go to the Malheur Reser- 
vation. He told them that Mr. Reinhard had everything 
for them on the agency. 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair, 217 

My people told him to ask Reinhard why he did not give 
these good things to them before, then Oytes would not 
have gone with the Bannocks. This was just before I lec- 
tured in San Francisco. 1 was lecturing one evening, and 
this very man came to me .and said, " Sarah, I would like 
to have you help me get some of your people to go with me 
to the Malheur Agency. I will pay you well for it. Here 
are thirty dollars." He handed it to me. I thought to my- 
self, ** The white people are better than I am. They make 
money any way and every way they can. Why not I ? I 
have not any. I will take it." So I did, for which I have 
been sorry ever since, — many times. 

Well, while I was lecturing in San Francisco, a great 
deal was said about it through the Western country. The 
papers said I was coming East to lecture. I was getting 
ready to come, and was at Lovelocks, Nevada, with brother 
Natchez.* There came a telegram to me there from a man 
named Hayworth, saying, " Sarah, the President wants you 
and your father and brother Natchez and any other chiefs, 
four in number, to go to Washington with me. I am sent to 
go with you." I answered, " Come here, we wish to see 
you." In two days he came, and we told him everything 
about the doings of the agent. Not only we told him, 
but the white people told him also. We asked him to go 
to Camp McDermitt and to the Pyramid Lake Reservation 
and down the Humboldt River, that he might see for him- 
self, and then he could help us tell the Big Father in Wash- 

1 See appendix for the letters given her by General Howard and many other 
officers, and Mr. Roger Sherman Day, in 1878, in furtherance of this plan. 
Mrs. Hopkins has not told in the text of the very great impression made by her 
lectures in San Francisco, showing up the iniquity of the agent Reinhard. It 
was, doubtless, the rumor of the excitement she caused which led to hei* being 
sent for to Washington. Reinhard could not contradict her there, where he 
and she were so well known, and therefore he probably wrote to Washington 
and told some story for himself. Editor. 

Digitized by 


21 8 Life Amo7tg the Piutes. 

ington. He did so, and when we were ready we started 
for Washington with him. It took us one week to get to 
Washington. We stopped at the Fremont House. As soon 
as we got into the house a doctor was sent to vaccinate 
us, for fear we would take small-pox. We were told not to 
go out anywhere without the man who brought us. The 
next day, at about ten o'clock, we were taken to the office 
of the Secretary of the Interior. As soon as we entered, 
the man there looked at me and said, — 

" So you are on the lecturing tour, are you ? " 

I said, " Yes, sir." 

" So you think you can make a great deal of money by 
it, do you ? " 

" No, sir; I do not wish to lecture for that." 

"What, then?" 

" I have come to plead for my poor people, who are dy- 
ing off with broken hearts, because they are separated from 
their children and husbands and wives and sons." 

" But they are bad people ; they have killed and scalped 
many innocent people." 

" Not so ; my people who are over there at Yakima did 
not do so any more than you have scalped people. There 
are only a few who went with the Bannocks who did 
wrong. I have given up those who were bad ; the soldiers 
have them prisoners at Vancouver Barracks, Washington 
Territory. I have not come to plead for the bad ones. 
I have done my work faithfully. I told the officers if they 
would surrender I would give up all the bad ones, which I 
did, and I ask you only to return to their home all that 
have helped the white people. Yes, sir ; the very man 
who killed Buffalo Horn was sent to the Yakima Reserva- 
tion." I 

The tears were running down my face while I was talk- 
1 See Appendices A and B. 

Digitized by. 


The Yakima Affair. 219 

ing, and the heartless man began to laugh at me. ' He then 
said, — 

" I don't think we can do anything about it." 

Just at this moment Mr. Hayworth came in, and said . 
Secretary Schurz was ready to see us. " Sarah," he said to 
me, " you must hot lecture here." 

Secretary Schurz received us kindly, not like the man 
we had just left. Secretary Schurz said, — 

" I want you to tell me from the first beginning of the 
Bannock war," which we did. 

Then he told Mr. Hayworth to take us everywhere to 
see everything ; to have a carriage and take us round ; and 
when we left him he said, — 

" Come again to-morrow, at the same hour." 

We had a great many callers who wanted to see us, but 
the man Hayworth was with us every minute, for fear I 
would say something. We were taken somewhere every 
day, only to come in and get our meals. Reporters 
would come and say, " We want you to tell us where you 
are going to lecture, that we can put it into our papers." 
But Hayworth would not let us talk to them. The next 
day we were again taken to Secretary Schurz. My brother 
talked this time, and I interpreted for him. My brother 
said, — 

" You, Great Father of the Mighty Nation, my people 
have all heard of you. We think you are the mightiest 
Father that lives,, and to hear your own people talk, there 
is nothing you can't do if you wish to ; and, therefore, we 
one and all, pray of you to give us back what is of no value 
to you or your people. Oh, good Father, it is not your 
gold, nor your silver, horses, cattle, lands, mountains we 
ask for. We beg of you to give us back our people, who 
are dying off like so many cattle, or beasts, at the Yakima 
Reservation. Oh, good Father, have you wife or child ? 

uigiiized by VjQOQ IC 

220 Life Among the Pitttes, 

Do you love them ? If you love them, think how you would 
feel if they were taken away from you, where you could 
not go to. see them, nor they come to you. For what are 
they to be kept there ? When the Bannocks came to our peo- 
ple with their guns, my father and I said to them everything 
that we could, teUing them not to fight. We had a talk 
three days, and only one man got up and said he would go 
with them. That was Oytes, with about twenty-five or 
thirty men. Oytes is a Harney Lake Piute. We Piutes 
never had much of anything. The Bannocks took every- 
thing we had from us. They were going to kill me, with three 
white men, who were living near by. I feared I could not 
get away, but thanks to Him who lives above us, I did get 
away with the three white men. THey followed us about 
twenty miles as fast as their horses could run. My horse 
fell down and died. I cried out to Jack Scott, and he let 
me jump up behind him, but he left me and rode on. I 
ran a little way till I came to a creek, up which I ran, and 
in that manner I got away. So you see, good Father, we 
have always been good friends to your people. If you 
will return our people whom you sent away to Yakima 
Reservation, let them come to the Malheur Reservation, 
and make the bad ones stay where they are. In time I 
and my people will go there too, to make us homes ; and, 
also, send away Mr. Reinhard, whom we hate." 

This is what my brother said to Secretary Schurz, and I 
am surprised to see that in their own Report^ they say, ** In 
the winter of 1878-9 a self-constituted delegation, consist- 
ing of the Chief Winnemucca and others Of his band 
visited this city, and while here made an agreement, etc., 
to remove to Malheur, and receive allotments of one hun- 
dred and sixty acres to .each head of a family, and each 
adult male ; they were to cultivate the lands so allotted, 

1 Ex. Doc. No. Ill, Message of the President of the United States. 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair, 221 

and as soon as the law would enable it, patents therefor in 
fee-simple were to be issued to each allottee," ^tc. 

I say we did not come on of ourselves ; we were sent 
for, and neither my father or brother made any agreement 
to go to Malheur until those who belonged there could 
come back from Yakima, and till Reinhard should be sent 

I said one day I was going to lecture, as the people 
wanted me to, and try to get a little money to buy some- 
thing for my father. Mr Hayworth told what I said, and 
we were all sent for to go to the office of the Interior. We 
went in and sat down. Secretary Schurz said to me, — 
^ " Sarah, so you are bound to lecture." 

I said, " People want me to." 

" I don't think it will be right for you to lecture here 
after the government has sent for you, and your father and 
brother, and paid your way here. The government is going 
to do right by your people now. Don't lecture now ; go 
home and get your people on the reservation — get them 
located properly ; and then, if you want to come back, write 
to us, and tell us you want to come back and lecture, and 
we will pay your way here and back again. He told me 
they would grant all I asked of them for my people, which 
they did ; yes, in their minds, I mean in writing, promises 
which, like the wind, were heard no more. They asked where 
I was going to stop after I got home. " We want to know, 
so that we can send you some canvas for tents for your 
people. You can issue it to them. Can you not ? " 

I said " Yes, if it comes." 

" We will send enough to make your people one hundred 
tents. You can issue it, and give the names of each head 
of the families, and send them back here." 

I said, " I shall be at Lovelock's in Nevada." " We will 
send it as soon as you get home." 

Digitized by 


222 Life Afno7tg the Piutes. 

My poor father and brother said, " All right." 

The secretary then told Mr. Hay worth to take us to the 
store and get father a suit of clothes, which father got ; but 
brother and I did not get a pin's worth from any one. We 
nev^r did get anything from the government, or govern- 
ment officials. 

Poor father ! he gave his clothes away after he got home, 
saying, " This is all i got from the Big Father in Washing- 
ton. I am the only one who got anything ; I don't care 
for them. If they had been given me by the good soldier- 
fathers I would keep them." 

On Saturday we were taken to the White House to see 
the President. We were shown all over the place before 
we saw him. A great many ladies were there to see us. 
At last he walked in and shook hands with us, then he 
said, — 

" Did you get all you want for your people ? " 

I said, " Yes, sir, as far as I know." 

" That is well," he said, and went out again. That is 
all we saw of him. That was President Hayes. 

We went back to the hotel. In the afternoon Mr, 
Meacham came with a carriage to take us to the Soldiers* 
Home, but we did not go. My father and brother were 
feeling badly because I told them I was going to New York 
to lecture, and I would come home by-and-by. I only 
did this to make the man who was with us angry, because 
he was forever listening to what I was saying. The 
Soldiers* Home is the only place we did not see while we 
were in Washington. 

Sunday evening we were to start for home. Mr, Meacham 
said to me the last minute, — 

" Sarah, stop and give a lecture before you go. They 
can't stop you. This is a free country. If you stop we 
will see you through." 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair. 22^ 

Oh, if he had lived I know I would have a good friend 
to help in my work, not like the one who has the charge of 
his work now. That is Dr. Bland. 

" Well, if the government pets are to be the ones to con- 
demn me, 1 have no fear whatever. I am not going into 
their private life, because I am not to condemn any one. I 
am only telling what the agents are doing. I think it is 
better for the government to keep the money than to give 
it to agents." 

We were now ready to start, and the man who brought 
us to Washington was going with us. I said to him, — 

" I am not going as I came here." 

" All right ; you shall have a sleeping-car." 

We had been on the road two days when a lady joined 
us. She was going to Duck Valley Agency to her hus- 
band, who was an agent there. She had a Bible with her. 
Ah ! ah ! What do you think the Bible was ? Why it 
was a pack of cards. She would sit every day and play 
cards with men, and every evening, too. She was an 
Indian agent's wife. 

Mr. Hayworth went as far as Omaha with us. He came 
to me there and said, " Sarah, I am going back." 

I ran to the car where my father and brothei- were to tell 
them. He came in and bade them good-bye, and gave 
brother three dollars to provide us all with eating on our 
way, — more than a thousand miles. 

This is a copy of the order Secretary Schurz gave me. 
I have the original in my possession now. 

Department of the Interior, 

Washington, D.C, July 20, 1880. 

The Pi-Utes, heretofore entitled to live on the Malheur 
Reservation, their primeval home, are to have lands al- 
lotted to them in severalty, at the rate of one hundred and 

Digitized by 


224 Life Among the Piutes. 

sixty acres to each head of a family, and each adult male. 
Such lands they are to cultivate for their own benefit. The 
allotment will be made under instructions of their agent. 
As soon as enabled by law to do so, this department is to 
give to the Indians patents for each tract of land convey- 
ing ta each occupant the fee-simple in the lot he occupies. 

Those of the Pi-Utes, who in consequence of the Ban- 
nock war, went to tjie Yakima Reservation, and whoever 
may desire to rejoin their relatives, are at liberty to do so, 
without expense to the government for transportation. 
Those who desire to stay upon the Yakima Reservation and 
become permanently settled there will not be disturbed. 

None of the Pi-Utes now living among the whites, and 
earning wages by their own work will be compelled to 
go to the Malheur Reservation. They are at perfect lib- 
erty to continue working for wages for their own benefit, 
as they are now doing. 

It is well understood that those who settle on the Mal- 
heur Reservation will not be supported by the government 
in idleness. They will be aided in starting their farms and 
promoting their civilization, but the support given them by 
the government will, according to law, depend upon their 
intelligence and efficiency in working for themselves. 


Secretary of the Interior, 

When we got home we told our people to go to Love- 
locks, and be ready to receive some tfents that were to be 
sent there for them. They came from far and near to hear 
of the wonderful father we had seen, how^he looked and 
all about him. V/hile we were waiting we almost starved. 
I wrote to the Secretary of the Interior for God^s sake to 
send us something to eat. He answered my letter telling 
me to take my people to the Malheur Agency. Just think 

Digitized by 


, The Yakima Affair, 225 

of my taking my people, who were already starving, to go 
three hundred miles through snow waist-deep. I told my 
people what the letter said. They all laughed and said, — 
' "We are not disappointed. We always said thai the 
Big Father was just like all the white people." 

What could we say ? We were only ashamed because 
we came and told them lies which the white people had 
told us. 

" You must make that up yourselves," they said, " for 
you have been to the white people's country, and all the 
white people say the Big Father at Washington never tells 
a lie." 

My father rose and told his people he did not blame them 
for talking as they did. 

" I say, my dear children, every word we have told you 
was said to us. Yes, they have said or done more than 
this. They have given us a paper which your mother will 
tell you of." 

Then he called me and said, — 

" Read the paper ; your brother will interpret for you." 

I did as I was told. I read very slowly. My brother did 
nicely, and after it was over my uncle, Captain John, rose 
and spoke, saying, " My dear people, I have lived many 
years with white people. Yes, it is over thirty years, and I 
know a great many of them. I have never known one of 
them do what they promised. I think they mean it just at 
the time, but I tell you they are very forgetful. It seems 
to me, sometimes, that their memory is not good, and since 
I have understood them, if they say they will do so and so 
for me, I would say to them, now or never, and if they 
don't, why it is because they never meant to do, but only 
to say so. These are your white brothers' ways, and they 
are a weak people." Some of them said, — 

" Oh, maybe he will send back oyr people." Others 

Digitized by 


226 Life Among the Piutes. 

said, " Time will tell." Just then my sister-in-law, brother 
Natchez' wife, said, " There comes a white man. Oh, it is 
Mr. Emory." 

He came up and gave me a letter. It was my appoint- 
ment to act as interpreter for my people at the Malheur 

After this, my people went away from Lovelocks. 

Then I went from place to place, trying to get my people 
to go to the Malheur Agency ; but they told me to go and 
get those who were at Yakima to come back there, then 
they would go. 

So I took my sister and started for Yakima on the ist of 
April. Just think how happy I was ! to go for my poor, 
sick-hearted people. Yes, armed with a paper signed by 
Secretary Schurz. I thought I would not have anything 
to do but to go there and get them, because they told me 
at Washington that they would send a letter to Mr. Wilbur, 
telling him what to do. I told them in Washington that 
my people would be afraid to go back to Malheur alone. 
They told me that Father Wilbur would see that they were 
taken back all right. If he thought we should need an es- 
cort of soldiers he would see to that. 

So you see I never once thought I was going to have 
any trouble, and I travelled three days without seeing any 
one. We had nothing to eat but hard-bread. Our horses 
were better off than we were. That was better than all, 
for I would rather any time have nothing to eat than have 
my horse go without anything. 

We had travelled four days, it was very late in the even- 
ing, and we rode up to a house. The men all ran out 
to see us. I said to sister, " I am afraid." Sister said, — 

" I know them. About one year ago, father and others 
camped here, and they were very kind to father. They 
killed beef for us, and we camped here a long time." 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair. 227 

To my great joy there came up two of our people. One 
was my own cousin, Joe Winnemucca. Oh, how glad he 
was to see us. 

" Is your father coming, too ? " he askecL 

" No, we are all alone." 

"Whatl You don't say you have come all the way 
from the reservation alone, have you ? " 

" That is just what I mean, and that is not all. We are 
going a long way.*^ 

** That can't be, you two women, all alone." 

" That is what we are going to do." 

The white man came up to us and said, 

" Who are you ? Where did you come from ? " 

I said, " Sir, I am Sarah Winnemucca, and this is my sis- 
ter,-and we came from Pyramid Lake Reservation." 

•* Oh, how do you do ? I have heard of you so many 
tintes I Oh, how 1 wish my wife was here to welcome you. 
She would be glad to see you. But, however, you are 
welcome. Won't you come in ? " 

Then he called one of his men to come and get our 
horses and take them to the stable. 

I said, *' Sir, this man is my cousin and I want to talk 
to him first." 

I told my cousin where we were going, and what for. 
How I was going to have our people back again at Mal- 
heur, and about the beautiful paper that the Great Father 
gave me, and what beautiful things they were going to do 
for us. Oh! how glad my poor cousin was, for his 
brother, Frank Winnemucca, was at Yakima. 

Now the man came for us to go to supper, I told the 
white man the same after supper, and showed him th<3 
beautiful letter that Secretary Schurz gave me, 

He said, " I am so glad, for your people are good work* 
ers, and the government ought to do something for them, 

Digitized, by VjOOQ IC 

228 Life Among the Pitites. 

I have lived here over twenty years. I never lost any- 
thing by your people, and whenever they came I always 
gave them something to eat. The last time your father 
was here I killed beef for him and the few who were with 

We staid here three days, because it snowed so hard we 
could not travel. At last it cleared off, and my cousin 
was going with us to the next place. He said there were 
very bad men there. Sometimes they would throw a rope 
over our women, and do fearful things to them. 

" Oh, my poor cousins," he said, " my heart aches for you, 
for I am afraid they will do something fearful to you. They 
do not care for anything. They do most terrible outra- 
geous things to our women." 

I thought within myself, " If such an outrageous thing is 
to happen to me, it will not be done by one man or two, 
while there are two women with knives, for I know what 
an Indian woman can do. She can never be outraged 
by one man ; but she may by two." It is something an In- 
dian woman dare not say till she has been overcome by one 
man, for there is no man living that can do anything to a 
woman if she does not wish him to. My dear reader, I 
have not lived in this world for over thirty or forty years 
for nothing, and I know what I am talking about. 

We did not get to the horrible place till the second day. 
We got there very late in the afternoon. As we rode up to 
the house, I heard one of the men say, " Why, there is 
Sarah Winnemucca ! " Oh, how glad I was to hear my name 
spoken by some one that knew me. I knew I was all right. 
He came up to me and said, — 

" Why, Sarah, what in the world are you doing away out 
here at this time of the year ? " 

He helped me off my horse. Sister jumped off hers, 
and he told my cousin to take our horses to the stable. I 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair, 229 

had known this man for some time. He used to live in 
Carson City, Nevada. His name is Crowles. I was glad 
to see him. We staid all night and were treated beauti- 
fully. I offered to pay for our supper and breakfast, and 
for our horses, too, but they would not take anything. ' So 
I thanked them, and we went on, and cousin went a little 
ways with us, and then said good-bye to us and went back. 
We had travelled about ten miles, when we looked back 
and saw three men coming after us as fast as" they could 
ride. This Mr. Crowles had some Spanish boarders, who 
were living near the house, and they saw us there. Well, 
we saw it was war then. I said, " Dear sister, we must ride 
for our dear lives." 

Away we went, and they after us like wild men. We 
rode on till our horses seemed to drop from under us. At 
last we stopped, and I told sister what to do if the "Whole 
three of them overtook us. We could not do very much, 
but we must die fighting. If there were only two we were 
all right, — we would kill them ; if only one we would see 
what he would do. If he lassoed me she was to jump off 
her horse and cut the rope, and if he lassoed her I was to 
do the same. If he got off his horse and came at me she 
was to cut him, and I would do the same for her. Now we 
were ready for our work. They were a long way back 
yet. We kept looking back to see how far off they were. 
Every time we would get out of sight, we would rest our 
horses, and at last, to our great joy, we only saw one com- 
ing. He will not dare to do us any harm. By-and-by he 
overtook us. 

" How do you do ? " he said. 

We did not speak to him. He said, "I know your 
brother Natchez well, and your father, too." 

I was so angry, I said to him, " Clear out, you mean, 
hateful man; we do not wish to talk." He said again, 
" What made you run your horses so ? " 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

230 Life Amo7ig the Piutes. 

I said, " What made you bad men run after us ? " 

We came to where there were two roads, one going to 
Camp C. F. Smith, and one to Camp Harney. We took 
the Camp Harney road. We could see a house across the 
valley, about five miles off. He said, — 

"Come with me to that place. I will give you fresh 
horses, for you have a long way to go." 

I did not speak, nor did sister. When he saw we would 
not talk to him, he turned his horse and went across the 
valley towards the house. So we were once more left to 
ourselves. We rode about five miles, and stopped to rest 
our horses an hour or' so, and went on again. At about 
two o'clock we came to a warm spring, and stopped and 
had a bath. Dear sister and I had a good time, and were 
refreshed, and rode on till about five o'clock,, when one of 
our horses gave out. We had quite a time getting the 
horse along, so it was very late when we got to the place 
where we were to go for the night. It was at Mr. James 
Beby's, who was married to one of my cousins on the south 
end of Stein's mountains, and at last we got there. My 
cousin's wife was glad to see us ; but he was not at home. 
We stopped there three days to see him. I knew if he was 
at home we could get some horses to go on to the next 
place, where we could take the stage to Camp Harney. I 
told my cousin we would go on. She said, — 

" Dear, take fresh horses, and leave them at Mr. Abbot's. 
He will go for them when, he gets home." 

I said, " No, dear, I am afraid he would not like it, and 
he may get angry with you. I think we can make it nicely 
to-day," which we did. 

The next morning we were ready to go on with a man by 
the name of Smith, whose father was killed during the Ban- 
nock war. We left one of our horses there, and rode in 
his wagon to Mr. Anderson's place. I knew everybody on 

Digitized by 



The Yakima Affair. 231 

that road. No white women on all the places where we 
stopped, — all men, — yet we were treated kindly by all of 
them, so far. We did not know what kind of a place Mr. 
Anderson's place was now, but before the Bannock war 
none of my people would go there for years and years. 
But we had to go there now. We got there about four 
o'clock in the afternoon. I had known Mr. Anderson for 
a number of years. He was a United States mail-con- 
tractor, and always had many cow-boys at his place over 
night. Sure enough, there were eight of them this night. 
There was only one room in the house with a fireplace. 
He was kind to us. I told him what I had told others. 
After supper I felt like crying, and said to sister, — 

" What shall we do ? Where shall we sleep ? We have 
no blankets." 

We could sleep out of doors, but there was snow on 
the ground. Oh, how badly I felt that night ! It was 
hard to keep back the tears. At last they began to make 
their beds here, there, and everywhere on the floor. Mr. 
Anderson said to the stage-driver, — 

" You and I must give up our bed to Miss Winnemucca 
to-night, and go in with some of the boys." 

Nothing more was said, and they went to bed with some 
of them, and by-and-by we lay down. 

I said to sister, " Oh, how my heart jumps. Something 
is going to happen to us, dear." 

" I feel that way too," sister said. We sat a long time, 
but it was very cold, and at last we lay down and I soon 
fell asleep. 

Some one laid a hand on me and said, " Sarah ! " 

I jumped up with fright and gave him such a blow right 
in the face. I said, " Go away, or I will cut you to pieces, 
you mean man!" He ran out of the house, and Mr. 
Anderson got up and lighted a candle. There was blood 

Digitized by 


232 Life Among the Piutes, 

on the side of the bed, and on my hands and the floor. 
He said, — 

" Oh, Sarah, what have you done ? Did you cut him ? " 

" No, I did not cut him ; I wish I had. I only struck 
him with my hand." 

He said, " Well, a man who will do such a thing needs 
killing. Who was it?" He looked round, but the man 
was gone. Mr. Anderson did not blow out the light. The 
man did not come in, but some of the men went out to 
look for him. When they came in they said he was gone, 
and had taken his horse. Some of the;,m said they guessed 
he was ashamed, and had gone off. Mr. Anderson said, 
" The big fool ! He ought to be ashamed." 

I never said a word more, and we did not sleep any more * 
that night. Mr. Anderson got up a four o'clock breakfast, 
for we were to start at five. We had to make Camp Harney 
that day, sixty miles. I still took my horse with me. We 
arrived at Camp Harney about six o'clock, and Captain 
Drury, then commanding officer, received us very kindly. 
There were only three ladies at the post. The captain's 
wife and the other officers' wives were kind to me while I 
stayed there. We staid ten days, because we could not 
get over the Blue Mountains, the snow was so deep. I had 
no money, and I tried to sell my horse, but could not. I 
went and talked with Mr. Stevens, who was a store-keeper 
at Camp Harney for many years. I showed him my ap- 
pointment as interpreter, and, thanks be to my Father in 
Spirit-Land, this man gave me a hundred dollars. He 
thought I was good for it ; that is, I would get paid for my 
work and pay him. So we got ready to go on with the 
government mail-carrier. Captain Drury was so kind as 
to let me have a government horse to ride as far as Canyon 
City, and the mail-carrier was to bring it back. Oh, such 
a time as we had going over! The snow was soft — our 

Digitized by 



The Yakima Affair, 233 

horses would go down and up again. If we walked we 
would go down too. . It rained some during the day. It 
was ten o'clock before we got to a place called Soda 
Springs. The next morning it snowed, but we did not mind 
it, and we got to Canyon City at three o'clock in the after- 
noon, almost frozen to death. We had to swim our horses 
at one place. We stayed there three days, because the 
stage goes only twice a week, and we had to wait for it. 
Here I tried again to sell my horse, but could not. I got 
a man named Mr. More to take him and put him on his 
farm until I should come back. The man sold him because 
I did not come, and that was the last of my horse. Here 
I saw Mr. C. W. Parrish again. I showed him the papers 
which I got from Secretary Schurz for my people, and told 
him of my visit to Washington. He was so glad, and 
said, ** Sarah, your people will be happy to get back." I told 
him the girls and boys that used to love his wife and chil- 
dren were all dead. I told him the names of many of 
them, so that he could tell his wife. She gave them all 
names when she had them at school. 

A reporter also called on me, and I told all he asked me. 
He gave me his address and said he would help me, and 
put any thing into his paper that I wished him to. I 
thanked him for his kindness. Mr. Parrish told me I had 
better see to my stage passage the first thing, or some one 
might get ahead of me. It was not a stage, but a little 
wagon called buckboard, and would carry only two persons 
besides the driver. So I went and paid my fare and my 
sister's, fifty dollars. It went at six o'clock in the evening, 
and it took two days and nights to go to the Dalles. We 
were to start that same evening. We had a very hard ride, 
arrived all right, found brother Lee waiting for us, stayed 
in Dalles two days, and hired horses from Father Wilbur's 
Christian Indians. It took us two days to get to Fort 

Digitized by 


234 -^t^ Among the Piutes. 

Simcoe, which we reached on the eighth of May. Father 
Wilbur was glad to see me. I did not say anything for 
four days, but brother Lee went and told everything to our 
people. They came every day to see me. I told them 
about our people in Nevada, but did not say anything about 
my visit to Washington. At last I went to see Father 
Wilbur, armed with my letters. I said, " Father, I have 
come to talk to you." He said, "Come in." I went in 
and sat down. I said, " Did you get a letter from Wash- 
ington?" He said, "No." 

" Well, that is strange, — they told me they would 


" The Secretary of the Interior, Secretary Schurz," ' 

" Why, what makes you think they would write to me ? " 

"Father, they told me they would write right off while I 
was there. It was about my people." 

He said, " We have not heard from them." 

"Father, I have a letter here, which Secretary Schurz 
gave me." I gave it to him to read. He read it and gave 
it back to me. I saw he was angry. 

" Sarah," he said, " your people are doing well here, and 
I don't want you to tell them of this paper or to read it to 
lliem. They are the best workers I ever saw. If you will 
not tell them, I will give you fifty dollars, and I will write 
to Washington, and see if they will keep you here as in- 

I said, " How is it that I am not paid for interpreting 
here so long ? Was I not turned over to you as an inter- 
preter for my people ? I have worked at everything while 
T was here. I helped in the school-house, and preached 
on Sundays for you, — T mean I interpreted the sermons." 
I told him I thought he ought to pay me something:. 

He said he would if I would not tell my people about 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair. 235 

Schurz's letter. I did not promise, and went away. I did 
not say anything for five or six days. At last my people 
came and demanded of me to come to them. Brother and 
1 went 10 them. 

Leggins got up and said to his people, — 

" My dear children, you all see that we have fio friend. 
You all see that our mother has sold us to Father Wilbur. 
Vou see that she does not want to let us know what our 
father Winnemucca has done for us. We are all told that 
she has a paper, which has been given to her by the mighty 
Big Father in Washington, and she has burnt it or hid it, 
so we won't know it. That way she has made her money, 
by selling us. She first sold us to the soldiers and had us 
brought here, and now she has sold us to this bad man to 
starve us. Oh, we shall never see our friends any more ! 
Our paper is all gone, there is nobody to talk for us, we 
are all alone, we shall never get back to our sweet coun- 

The tears ran down his face as he talked, and women 
cried. Brother could not stand it any longer. He jumped 
up and cried aloud, saying, — 

" For shame ! What are you talking about ? Are you 
mad ? Why don't you ask before you talk ? '' 

I had told Lee what Father Wilbur had said to me. 

"Go and talk to Father Wilbur, not to my sister. It is 
he who has sold us, not sister ; it is he who don't want us 
to %o back.** 

Some of the women cried out, — 

" That 's what we told them last night when they were 
abusing our mother. We knew she would not do such a 

Some of them came and laid their hands on my head, 
and cried, saving, — 

" Oh, mother, forgive us for thinking badly of you. Oh, 

Digitized by 


236 Life Amoitg the Piiites, 

tell us, can we hope we shall see our husbands, our chil- 
dren, our daughters ? " 

I got up and held up the paper over my head, and 
said, — 

" My dear children, may the Great Father in the Spirit- 
land, will it so that you may see your husbands, and your 
children, and your daughters. I have said everything I 
could in your behalf, so did father and brother. I have 
suffered everything but death to come here with this paper. 
I don't know whether it speaks truth or not. Ypu can say 
what you like about me. You have a right to say I have 
sold you. It looks so. I have told you many things which 
are not my own words, but the words of the agents and the 
soldiers. I know I have told you more lies than 1 have 
hair on my head. I tell you, my dear children, I have never 
told you my own words ; they were the words of the white 
people, not mine. Of course, you don't know, and I don't 
blame you for thinking as you do. You will never know 
until you go to the Spirit-land. This which I hold in my 
hand is our only hope. It came right from the Big Father 
you hear so much of. We will see what his words are if 
what the people say about him is truth. If it is truth we 
will see our people in fifty days. It is not my own making 
up ; it came right from him, and I will read it just as it is, 
so that you can all judge for yourselves." 

After I had read it through, they all forgot they were 
grown people. They jumped about and cried, " Oh, we 
shall be happy again." The little girls said, " We shall 
sing, we shall play in our own play-ground." Men and 
women were all like children running to me with out- 
stretched hands, saying, " Mother, forgive us for thinking 
bad of you." 

Leggins said, " Now, you have heard what our mother 
has told us, we will get ready to go at once, and all that 

Digitized by 



The Yakima Affair. 237 

want to can go with me, and all that want to can stay. 
Step aside, so I may know who are going with me, and 
then we can go and find our Father Wilbur, so he can go 
with us, or send for soldiers to go with us." 

Every one cried, " Why ask us ? We are all dying off 
here. Who wants to stay here ? We will all go, — yes, we 
will all go, if we have to crawl on our hands and knees.," 

All but Oytes, he sat with his hands over his face, cry- 
ing. Paddy says to Oytes, " Why do you hang your head ? 
Have you turned into a woman ? You were fiifst on your 
horse when the Bannocks came. You got us all into 
trouble, and only for you we had been in our own country. 
You are the cause of all our suffering. Now it is no time 
to cry. I felt like crying when you got up and said, * Come, 
my men, get your arms, we will help the Bannocks/ At 
that time there was only one who got up and said, * Men, 
what are you all thinking about ? Don't you all hear your 
Chief talking to you, telling you not to go with the Ban- 
nocks, or you will all be killed ? He is telling you good 
things, and you dare to ciy war ? ' " 

As Paddy talked he pointed and said, " That old woman 
sits there who said these things. She knew what our Chief 
Natchez was saying to us. We had ears to hear, and knew 
what was said was truth. If we had listened to what was 
said to us then we would not have lost so many of our 
friends, and now they have done more for us than we de- 
served, — yea, more than we would do for them. I am as 
bad as you have been. They went so far to talk in your 
behalf, and because our mother has come with good news 
from the Big Father, you have to cry. Stop your cr}^ing, 
and tell us what you are going to do." 

Oytes got up and said, " Dear brother," but broke down 
again and could not speak. He stood a little while, rfe 
looked up to me and said, " Mother, pity me. Give me 

Digitized by 


233 Life Among the Piutes. 

your hand. Help me. I am just as Paddy says — * I am 
a woman ; ' I shall be while I live," and then he cried 
out to Leggins, " Oh, brother, ask me to go with you to 
our dear Mother Earth, where we can lie alongside our 
father's bones. Just say, * Come,* I will be only too glad 
to go with you." 

I then said, " This paper says all that want to go can go. 
I say for one, Oytes, come, go with us, but all who want to 
can go." 

Then Leggins said, "Oytes, I have no right to say 
to you, * You have done wrong and you can't go to your 
own country.' No, I am only too glad to hear you talk as 
you do. We will all go back and be happy once more in 
our native land." 

Then they all said, " We will all go. Why leave one 

Then the head men said to me and to brother Lee, " We 
will go and see Father Wilbur right oif, and tell him to send 
for soldiers to go with us, to keep the white men from kill- 
ing us." 

So we all started up to see our good Father Wilbur. 
Our father did not want to talk to us. My people came 
every day to see him for four days. During the time there 
came some goods for my people. The storehouse was full 
of goods of all kinds. He came to me and said, " Sarah, 
I had some forty of your people working for me since you 
went away, some women, too. I want you to tell them to 
come and I will pay them right off. I have to pay them in 

I went and told them. My people said, " Now is the 
time to talk to him," but he did not want to talk to them. 
Some got blankets, some calico for their wives. Some 
said, " I worked two months. Some three months. W^e 
ought to get more pay." These words were not listened 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair, 239 

to by Father Wilbur. Eighteen men got paid and six 
women, and the doors were shut. My people tried to talk 
to him. I went to him and said, " My people want to talk 
to you." He did not answer me. I went back to them. 
They all began to laugh at me, saying, " Ah ! ah ! Your 
father talks every Sunday saying we must not get mad or 
do anything that is not right." " Now, he is the first to 
get mad at me," said Leggins. They all laughed again 
and went to tlieir camps. The next morning the agent 
sent for me. I sent for Leggins and some of the head 
men, and went to his home. He gave me a chair to sit 
down in. Dr. Kirkendorff and the head farmer, Mr. Fair- 
child, were there. My sister ran off and told them I was 
sent for and they had better go quickly. Then he began 
on me by saying, " I am sorry you are putting the devil 
into your people's heads ; they were all doing so well while 
you were away, and I was so pleased with them. You are 
talking against me all the time, and if you don't look out I 
will have you put in irons and in prison." Here I jumped 
on my war-horse. I mean I said, " Mr. Wilbur, you for- 
get that you are a Christian when you can talk so to me. 
You have not got the first part of a Christian principle 
about you, or you would leave everything and see that my 
poor, broken-hearted people get home. You know how 
they are treated by your Christian Indians. You are wel- 
come to put me in prison. You are starving my people 
here, and you are selling the clothes which were sent to 
them, and it "is my money in your pocket ; that is why you 
want to keep us here, not because you love us. I say, Mr. 
Wilbur, everybody in Yakima City knows what you are do- 
ing, and hell is full of just such Christians as you are." 
" Stop talking, or I will have you locked up." 
" I don't care how soon you have it done. My people 
are saying I have sold them to you, and get money from 

Digitized by 


240 Life Among the Piuies. 

you to keep them here. I am abused by you and by my 
own people, too. You never were the man to give me any- 
thing for my work, and I have to pay for everything I have 
to eat. Mr. Wilbur, you will not get off as easily as you 
think you will. I will go to Yakima City and lecture. I 
will tell them all how you are selling my people the clothes 
which were sent here for them." 

I had my say, and got up and went away. He tried to 
keep me, but I walked away. That is the last I saw of 
Father Wilbur. I almost wished he would put me in 
prison, for that would have made my people see that I had 
not sold them. He sent the doctor to talk to me, and to 
tell me if I wanted to go home he would send his own team 
down with me to the Dalles. I told him to tell Wilbur I 
was going to Yakima City first. 

" Oh, Sarah, you had better not. The Yakimas have 
been telling Father Wilbur lies about you, through Oytes." 
I said, " I have had my say." We all talked the thing 
over, and they said I had better go to the Dalles and send 
a telegram to the Big Father in Washington, and then come 
for them. My brother Lee thought so too. Later the 
doctor came again and said, " Lee, Father Wilbur wants . 
to see you." He did not want to go. " I am afraid he 
will put me in irons, too." " Don't be afraid ; go and see 
what he wants with you." He again said to me, " Well, 
Sarah, do you want to go to the Dalles ? I will take you 
down myself, if you will say you will go." I did not talk to 
him, but got up and went away until brother came back. 
He came back laughing. At last he said, " Oh, sister, I 
am rich. I am going to have some land, and I am going 
to have a wagon, and I am going to have my own time to 
pay for it. It will only take one hundred and twenty-five 
years for me to pay for my wagon. He wants me to stay 
here, not to go away. Yes, I see myself staying here. 
Leggins, Oytes, Paddy, come and have supper with us." 

Digitized by 


The Yakima Affair, 241 

Just as we sat down the doctor came and said, " Sarah, 
Mrs. Young is going down to-morrow." 

" Doctor, I am not going till I get ready ; not until then, 
and when I want to have you take me down I will let you 

We had another talk, and then I promised my people 
that I would work for them while there was life in my body. 
I told them I would telegraph to the Big Father in Wash- 
ington, as soon as I got to the Dalles. I then told Lee to 
go to the doctor and say I would go. He came over him- 
self to see me. We got to Dalles the second day. I went 
to the telegraph office, and sent the telegram, as I said I 

The two army reports will go in this book, where my 
readers will see how many were against me. I then wrote 
to General Howard, telling him I was so poor I did not 
know what to do. I told him Father Wilbur never gave 
me a cent for the work I had done for him. I did not 
have money enough to go down to Vancouver, where Gen- 
eral Howard was. Oh, thanks be to my Spirit-Father, 
General Howard sent for me. They appointed me inter- 
preter and teacher at that place. There were fifty Indians, 
called the Sheep-Eaters, and some others. 1 taught their 
children how to read, and they learned very fast, because 
tiiey knew what they were learning. During this time I 
received the five hundred dollars, which I dearly earned 
during the Bannock war, after working two years for it. I 
then paid Mr. Stevens what he gave me at Camp Harney. 
While we were doing so well, there came an order that 
these Sheep-Eaters and Weisers must go to Fort Hill Res- 
ervation. Lieutenant Mills and I took them there, and I 
left them there. I paid thirty-five dollars which they ought 
to have paid for me. I wrote to General Howard about it, 
and he told me how to get it. I did as he told me to ; but 

Digitized by 



242 Life Among the Piutes, 

as in other cases, I never heard from it. I wrote to my 
school-children afterwards. The head man, who called 
himself War Jack, got some one to write to me, saying my 
children had forgotten what they had learned, as they were 
not going to school any more. That is the last I heard 
fiom them, and my work at Vancouver for the military gov- 
ernment may be my last work, as I am talking against the 
government officials ; and I am assured I never shall get 
an appointment as interpreter. I do have a little hope if 
the army takes care of my people that they will give me a 
place, either as teacher or.interpreter. I tell you, my dear 
.readers, the agents don't want anybody but their own 
brothers and sisters, or fathers and mothers, wives, cousins, 
or aunts. If they do have an interpreter, they get one that is 
so ignorant he does not know what is said. Yes, one that 
can't read, one that is always ready to sign any kind of let* 
ter that suits his own purpose. My people have been sign- 
ing papers for the last twenty-three years. They .don't 
know what they sign. The interpreter tells them it is for 
blankets, coats, pants, shoes, socks, woollen shirts, calicoes, 
unbleached muslin. So they put their names to it, while it 
is only a report of the issues he has already made. He 
knows well enough that if they were told it was the report 
of an issue they would not sign it. This kind of thing 
goes on, on all the reservations; and if any white man 
writes to Washington in our behalf, the agent goes to work 
with letters and gets his men, and his aunts and cousins to 
help him, and they get any kind of Indians to sign the 
letters, and they are sent on to Washington. Yes, General 
Crook tells the truth about the agents stealing from the 
Indians, and whoever tells this truth is abused by the 
agent. He. calls him nobody, and the agent is believed, 
because he is a Christian. So it goes on year after year. 
Oh, when will it stop } I pray of you, I implore of you, 

Digitized by 


The Yakiffia Affair. 243 

I beseech of you, hear our pitiful cry to you, sweep away 
the agency system ; give us homes to live in, for God's sake 
and for humanity's sake. *I left my poor people in despair, 
I knew I had so many against me. While I was in Van- 
couver, Mr. Chapman, the interpreter, was sent over to- 
Yakima to see if he could help my people. He met with 
the same success I had had. He came back and told me 
my people were really starving. He said he never saw peo- i 
pie in the condition they were in. He said he went into 
their tents to see if they had anything hidden away. He 
did not find anything ; but he said he did it because Father 
Wilbur told him the people had plenty to eat Sometimes 
they went four or five days without having a thing to eat, 
nor had they any clothes. Poor man 1 the tears ran down 
his cheeks as he told me, and of course I cried. 
Just then Colonel Wilkinson came up and said, — 
" Why, Sarah, what are you crying about t You are only 
an Indian woman. Why, Indian women never cry." 

Ah, my dear friends, he is another one who makes people 
believe he is working for Indians. He is at Forest Grove. 
He is another one that started a school for the Indians, 
something like Hampton School ; but people will not send 
to him, because they have not confidence, in him. He is 
the man that used to preach in the streets in Portland, 
Oregon. I tell you the world is full of such people. I 
see that all who say they are working for Indians are 
against me. I know their feeling pretty well. They know 
if the Indians are turned over to the army, they will lose 
their living. In another sense they ought to be glad to 
have Indians (I mean all my people, who are Indian nations) 
under the military care, for then if we kill white people, 
the soldiers can just kill us right there, and not have to go 
all over the country to find us ! For shame ! for shame 1 
You dare to cry out Liberty, when you hold us in places 

Digitized by 



244 Life Among the PitUes. 

agaiDSt our will, driving us from place to place as if we 
were beasts. Ah, there is one thing you cannot say of the 
Indian. You call him savage, and everything that is bad 
but one ; but, thanks be to God, I am so proud to say that 
my people have never outraged your women, or have even 
insulted them by looks or words. Can you say the same 
of the negroes or the whites? They do commit some 
most horrible outrages on your women, but you do not 
drive them round like dogs. Oh, my dear readers, talk for 
us, and if the white people will treat us like human beings, 
we will behave like a people; but if we are treated by 
white savages as if we are savages, we are relentless and 
desperate ; yet no more so than any other badly treated 
people. Oh, dear friends, I am pleading for God and for 

I sent the following letter to the Honorable Secretary of 
the Interior : — 

"Vancouver Barracks, March 28,1881.- 

" Dear Sir, — I take this matter in hand in behalf of the 
Indians who are prisoners here at this place. There are 
fifty-three (53) in all. Of this number thirteen are 
men, twenty-one women, eleven girls from three to four- 
teen years of age, and eight boys from three to six- 
teen. Twenty-three of the number belong to the Sheep- 
Eaters, thirteen belong to the Weisers* tribe, and seven 
from Boisd. These belong to Fort Hall. This is the 
second winter they have been here, and they have 
been provided for entirely by the military here. They 
receive government rations. But the only way they have 
to provide for the women is by what they make out of 
selling the savings of some of their rations, and from what 
castaway clothing I can collect from employes here. I 
am employed here as an interpreter, and have been teach- 
ing them to read. I commenced last July, I have twelve 

Digitized by 



The Yakima Affair, 245 

girls and six boys in school. ^Vhen I commenced to teach 
them they knew nothing, — never had been to school. They 
are learning fast. They can all read pretty well, and are 
desirous to learn. What I want to ask is to have them 
stay here. They seem to be contented. Most of them 
would rather stay here than to go elsewhere, but in order 
to make them more contented and useful it would be well 
to help them. If they could have a place, or a bit of land 
given them to use for themselves, yes, a place for their own 
benefit, and where they could work for themselves, I would 
teach them habits of industry, and it would help much in 
supporting them ; and it is necessary that there should be, 
at least for the present, some appropriation made for them, 
in order to provide clothing for the women and children, 
and a proper place to live in. At present they are living 
in tents. The men are working for the military here in 
improving the post, and they all have an interest in them 
for their work, and I think a little help from your depart- 
ment, as above mentioned, would be better for them than to 
turn them loose again to wander in idleness or learn evil, or 
go back to bad habits again. I think it would be the best 
that could be done for them in the way of enlightening and 
Christianizing them. They would all rather be under 
the military authority. They say they are not cheated 
here, and they can see that the officers are doing all they 
can for them. Hoping you will give this a careful consid- 
eration, I am, sir, very respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" Sarah Winnemucca." 

I never had any answer to this letter, nor to any of the 
letters I wrote to Washington, and nothing was ever done 
to fulfil the promise of Secretary Schurz's paper, nor was 
any canvas ever sent for tents. Gen. McDowell, in the last 

246 Life Among the Piutes. 

army report^ issued before he was retired from the service 
in California, and which he sent to me after I arrived in 
Boston, wrote an urgent appeal to the government to do 
justice to these my suffering people, who had been snatched 
from their homes against their wills. 

Among the letters from the officers, in the Army Report, 
are two or three from Father Wilbur. He says he should 
be much relieved if the Piutes were not on his reservatton. 
They have been the cause of much labor and anxiety to 
him. Yet he does all he can to prevent their going away. 
What can be the meaning of this ? Is it not plain that 
they are a source of riches to him ? He starves them and 
sells their supplies. He does not say much against me, 
but he does say that if my influence was removed' my peo- 
ple would be contented there. This is as untrue as it was 
in Reinhard to say they would not stay on the Malhe\ir Res- 
ervation. While I was in Vancouver, President Hayes 
and his wife came there, and I went to see them. I spoke 
to him as I had done in Washington to the Secretary, and 
said to him, " You are a husband and father, and you know 
how you would suffer to be separated from your wife and 
children by force, as my people still are, husbands from 
wives, parents from children, notwithstanding Secretary 
Schurz's order." Mrs. Hayes cried all the time I was 
talking, and he said, " I will see about it." But nothing 
was ever done that I ever heard of. 

Finding it impossible to do any thing for my people I 
did not return to Yakima, but after I left Vancouver Bar- 
racks I went to my sister in Montana. After my marriage 
to Mr. Hopkins I visited my people once more at Pyramid 
Lake Reservation, and they urged me again to come to the 
East and talk for them, and so I have come. 

1 Oct. 14, 1882. See Appendix. 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

The Yakima Affair, 247 

Note. — Mrs. Hopkins has met >yith so much intelligent sym- 
pathy and furtherance that she has been encouraged to make the 
following petition to the next Congress, which a Massachusetts 
representative will present in the hope that it will help to shape 
aright the new Indian policy, by means of the discussion it will 
receive : — 

" Whereas, the tribe of Piute Indians that formerly occupied 
the greater part of Nevada, and now diminished by its sufferings 
and wrongs to one-third of its original number, has always kept 
its promise of peace and friendliness to the whites since they first 
entered their country, and has of late been deprived of the Mal- 
heur Reservation decreed to them by President Grant : — 

*' I, Sarah Winnemucc^ Hopkins, grand-daughter of Captain 
Truckee, who promised friendship for his tribe to General Fre- 
mont, whom he guided into California, and served through the 
Mexican war, — together with the undersigned friends who sympa- 
thize in the cause of my people, — do petition the Honorable Con- 
gress of the United States to restore to them said Malheur Reserva- 
tion, which is well watered and timbered, and large enough to afford 
homes and support for them all, where they can enjoy Idnds in 
a| severalty without losing their tribal relations, so essential to their 

■ happiness and good character, and where their citizenship, im- 

plied in this distribution of land, will defend them from the en- 
; J croachments of the white settlers, so detrimental to their interests 

■TSJ and their virtues. And especially do we petition for the return 

.1 of that portion of the tribe arbitrarily removed from the Malheur 

**• Reservation, after the Bannock war, to the Yakima Reservation 

on Columbia River, in which removal families were ruthlessly 
separated, and have never ceased to pine for husbands, wives, and 
children, which restoration was pledged to them by the Secretary 
of the Interior in 1880, but has not been fulfilled." 

[Signatures.] ^ 

Whoever shall be interested by this little book or by Mrs. 
Hopkins's living word, will help to the end by copying the peti- 
tion and getting signatures to it, and sending the lists before the 
first of December to my care, 54 Bowdoin street, Boston. For 
the weight of a petition is generally measured by its length. 
Several hundred names have already been sent in. 

Digitized by 



Life Among the Piutes. 

The last three pages of the Appendix will show that the friends 
of the agents she criticizes are active to discredit her; but it has 
been ascertained that every definite charge made to the Indian 
office has no better endorsement than the name of Reinhard, who. 
is characterized, to my personal knowledge, by some of the army 
officers who have known of his proceedings, as "a thoroughly 
wicked and unscrupulous man.** 

Mary Mann. 

Digitized by 



Omah^, Nebraska, April 3, 1SS3. 
Ta all whom it may concern. 

This is to certify that Sarah Winnemucca, now Mrs, 
Hopkins, acted for my department and troops in the field 
as guide and interpreter during the Piute and Bannock 
war of 1878. Her conduct was always good, and she was 
especially compassionate to women and childree who 
were brought in as prisoners. After this war she worked 
as interpreter and teacher for quite a time near Van- 
couver Barracks, Washington Territory, In this capacity 
she gave abundant satisfaction to all who were interested 
in Indian children. She always appeared to me to be a 
true friend to her own people, doing what she could for 

Since my departure from Washington Territory and 
her marriage with Mr. Hopkins, I have had no further 
knowledge of her except from the public press \ but she is 
probably endeavoring to do something for the upbuilding 
of the Indians as well as earning her own living- 
Oliver O, Howard, 

Brevet Maj\-Gen., U.S,A, 

New York Citv, April g, JSS3. 
This is to certify to whom it may concern. 

That Sarah Winnemucca was instrumental in bringing 
her father and his immediate band of Piute Indians out 
of the hostile Bannock camp near Juniper Lake, Oregon, 

Digitized by 



250 Life Among the Piutes. 

in 1878; after which she remahied with General How- 
ard's command and rendered good service as scout, guide, 
and interpreter, and in inducing members of her tribe to 
come in and surrender themselves. She is intelligent, and 
appreciates the position of her people, and is not insensible 
to their destiny. 

C. E. S. Wood, U.S.A,, 

Aide-iie^amp and Adjutant-General of troops in the field, 
Bannock and Piute campaign, 1S78, 

Office of Inspector of Cavalry, 
Headquarters Mil. Div. of the Missouri. 
Chicago, May 8, 1838. 

To Mrs. Sarah Hopkins (Sarah Winnemucca), 74 Temple St, Boston, Mass. 

Madam, — In acknowledging the receipt of your note of 
the twenty-sixth of April, it affords me much pleasure to 
state that I do not hesitate to concur with Gen. O. O. Howard 
in indorsing and commending you to the favor and con- 
sideration of the philanthropic people of the country. 

Wishing you success in your present endeavor, I remain 
yours sincerly, James W. Forsyth, Lt-ColoneL 

1606 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, Cal., April 19, 1883. 
Mrs. Sarah Hopkins {nee Sarah Winnemucca), care of First Lieut. 

C. E. S. Wood, U.S.A., 61 Clinton Place, New York, N»Y. 

Dear Madam, — I duly received your note of the 7th 
inst., and do not know that I can better comply with your 
request than to send you, herewith, a copy of the official 
papers concerning yourself, kindly given me by the Assist- 
ant Adjutant-General at Hd. Qu. Dis. Pacific; and by 
to-day's mail a copy of the printed copy of the report of 
the General of the Army of last year, containing my last 
annual report of Oct. 14, 1882. You will see that in my 
last official act before being retired, Oct. 15, I endeavored 

Digitized by 




to have justice done your people in exile on the Yakima 

All the papers sent will, I think, show that the army 
have tried to be just to you and yours. 

I am very truly your most obedient servant, 

Irvin McDowell, 

Major-Gcfural retired^ late commander o/Div. Pacific and DcpL Co/. 

That Gen. McDowell did his best " to be just to " my 
people, may be seen by the following extracts from the 
army reports he sent me with the above letter, witli mar- 
ginal notes in his own handwriting. 

Oct 14, i8Si. 

" Before relinquishing the command I now hold, T am 
constrained to ask the attention of the war and inierior de- 
partments to the case of certain Piutes who were taken 
away from their tribes and homes in Califomiaj and car- 
ried to an Indian reservation among a strange people 
north of the Columbia River. Their case is fully set forth in 
the accompanying papers," and he says in a marginal note 
in his own handwriting, that these " accompan}ing papers 
he alludes to were left out of the printed report, no reason 
being given." He continues : " It will be seen, as it ap- 
pears to me, that the reasons which caused the refusal of 
my application to have these innocent and suffering people 
sent back to their tribe and homes, have been mere ques- 
tions of administration, of convenience and economy, 
while I submit their return is a matter of good faith and 
mercy. The Indians in question (and a list of them is 
herewith) were not hostile. They had done nothing 
meriting punishment. During the war they were carried 
away from their homes, because it was easier to move them 
during hostilities than to have a force to protect them at 
their homes. They are held in exile against their wills. 

• /• 

Digitized by 



252 Life Among the Piutes. 

They are kindred to Winnemucca and his childre^i Natchez 
and Sarah, who perilled their lives and were indefatiga- 
ble in doing everything for the whites and the army. I 
am thus earnest, and may, perhaps, be thought importu- 
nate, in arguing this question, because it arose under my 
command and by officers acting under roe, and those peo- 
ple and their families and friends look to me to see their 
wrongs redressed. I have had visits from Natchez and 
Sarah, and messages asking me to have these people sent 
home. They have no representative, no newspaper to 
speak for them, and, even if they could get their cases be- 
fore the courts, are ignorant of the way to bring it there. 
I beg the proper officers may look again into this ques- 
tion, not as a matter of convenience to the service, but one 
of justice to unfortunate and innocent people." On page 
123 in this Army Report is a letter from James B. Wilbur, 
United States Indian agent of the Yakima Reservation, to. 
which those 502 Indians had been sent against their will, 
in which he says : " Their atrocities, committed without the 
slightest provocation when they took up the hatchet, de- 
serve no favor." To this Gen. McDowell writes a mar- 
ginal note, saying : "The Indians whom it wished to send 
back to their home did not cgmmit atrocities as stated." 

Gen. Miles, commanding at the headquarters of the Co- 
lumbia, Vancouver Barracks, Washington Territory, writes : 
"To the Assistant Adjutant-General, Presidio: I am in- 
formed that the Piute Indians, who have for the last two 
years been resident on the Yakima Reservation, have re- 
cently moved southward to near the Dalles. They send 
word they wish to rejoin Winnemucca. This matter has 
been the subject of correspondence between the interior 
department and the military authorities for the last two 
years. I believe a portion of them will attempt to rejoin 
their friends in the south, even without permission. From 

Digitized by 


Appendix. 253 

all the information I haVe been able to gather upon the 
subject, I am satisfied the best disposition for these people 
will be to send them, under safe escort, to Winnemucca's 
reservation, and I request authority to make such disposi- 
tion." Under date of Jan. 7, 1882, he had already written 
to division headquarters, as follows : " Many of the In- 
dians taken from Malheur agency by the military and 
placed on the Yakima Reservation, were always loyal to the 
government. Since they have been on that reservation 
they have been living in a wretched condition, with very 
insufficient food and clothing. I doubt the wisdom or loy- 
alty of this course on the part of the government officials ; 
and, as I understand their reservation has been, or is to be 
given up, it would, in my opinion, be an act of justice aind 
good policy to promptly restore these peaceable Indians to 
their people, — those known as the Winnemucca Indians 
near Camp Dermot, or to the Warm Spring Reservation, 
where they have friends. This action, if prompt, may pre- 
vent an outbreak in the spring. In this connection, I en- 
close a copy of a recent communication from the interior 
department on the subject." 

Other officers express a similar opinion to that of Gen. 
McDowell. On page eighteen of the Army Report is a 
letter relating to the return of the Piutes from the Yakima 
Reservation to their home in Nevada, from Major A. M. 
Randol of the First Artillery, to the Assistant Adjutant- 
General of the Headquarters M. D. P. D. C, Presidio of 
San Francisco, Cal. : — 

Winnemucca, Nev., Aug. 15, 1882. 

Sir, — I have the honor to report that I have just had 
an interview with Natchez, who, in reply to the questions 
contained in your communication of the 12th inst., says 
that about forty-three lodges had left the Yakima Reserva- 
tion and crossed the Columbia, with the intention of re- 

Digitized by 



254 Life Among the Piutes. 

turning to Fort McDermitt or Winnemucca, but that the 
agent had sent an Indian sheriif after them, who had taken 
them all back to the reservation, where they now are; 
that none of these non-hostile Piutes have returned to their 
old homes. He further says that he has received several 
letters complaining of their destitute condition, and request- 
ing him to try to have them returned to their old homes. 
He gave me the last letter he received from Lewis, which t 
herewith enclose, and which he wishes returned to him 
when you shall have finished with it. This letter contains 
about all that Natchez knows about the condition of his 
people at the Yakima Reservation. He says that if it be 
decided to let them return^ to their old homes, that he will 
go after them and select the good from the bad ; that he 
would like to see Gen. McDowell, and hopes he will send 
for him to come to the Presidio as soon as possible, so that 
if his people are to return home they may do so before the 
weather grows cold, etc. He further says that Oytes and 
his six lodges (about one hundred people) are hostile, and 
should not be allowed to return. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

A, M. Randol. 

Here is Lewis's letter (corrected in orthography). 

July I, 1882. 

My dear friend Natchez, — It is long time since you 
have written to me. I hope you did not forgotten us. Are 
you trying anything for my people towards going to their 
old home ? The Piutes have nothing to eat at the Simcoe 
Reservation. My people there are willing to go to the old 
home in the fort, if the government should let them go, 
and will never to fight again. You try hard and come to 
see us right away ; or do your people don't care for my 

Digitized by 


Appendix. 255 

people any more ? Legon (Leggins), the chief, is almost 
blind, and Oytes don't want to go home to Camp Harney. 
My people want go, about forty-three lodges, and Oytes 
six. Yours truly, 

J. J. Lewis. 

Headquarters Mil. Div. Pacific and Dept. of California, 
Presidio, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1882. 
Official copy respectfully furnished to Maj. A. M. Ran- 
dol. First Artillery, who will stop at Winnemucca or Wads- 
worth an^ Lovelock stations on the Central Pacific Rail- 
road, at whichever place Natchez, an influential Piute, is ; 
and read him this communication, and inquire if he knows 
anything about the movement of his people, who were not 
engaged in the Bannock war, southward from Yakima Res- 
ervation. If any, how many of these non-hostile Piutes 
have returned to their old homes ; how many of these non- 
hostiles still remain north of the Columbia river, and their 
condition, etc., and report fully all the information furnished 
by Natchez. By command of Major-General McDowell. 

J. C. Kelton, 
Assistant Adjutant-General, 

War Department, Washington City, July 22, 1882. 
To the Hon, Secretary of the Interior, ^ 

Sir, — I have the honor to invite your attention to the 
enclosed copy of a telegram from the Commanding General 
of the Military Division of the Pacific, dated the 19th inst., 
stating that he is informed by the Commanding General, 
Department of the Columbia, that the Piutes who have for 
the past two years been resident on the Yakima Reserva- 
tion have moved southward, and have sent word they de- 
sire to return to Winnemucca. 

Digitized by 


2^6 Life Among the Piutes, 

General McDowell concurs with the 'latter that the best 
disposition of these people would be to send them under 
escort to the Winnemucca Reservation, and requests au- 
thority to do so. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Wm. E. Chandler, 

Acting Secretary of War. 

Department of thb Interior, Washington, July 29, 1882. 
To the Hon. the Secretary of War. 

Sir, — Acknowledging receipt of your letter of 22d Inst., 
inclosing copy of telegram from Gen. McDowell, to the 
effect that the Piutes, residing for two years past at the 
Yakima Reservation, Washington Territory, have moved 
southward en route to Winnemucca, and requesting author- 
ity to send these Indians under escort to the Winnemucca 
Reservation, as in his opinion the best thing to do. I have 
the honor to invite your attention to the report of the 
Commissioner of Indian affairs, of the 28th inst, on the 
subject (copy enclosed) setting forth the reasons why these 
Indians should remain at the Yakima Reservation, in which 
I concur. Very respectfully, 

H. M. Teller, 


Department op the Interior, 
Office of Indian Affairs, July 28, 1882. 
To the Secretary of the Interior. 

Sir, — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by 
your reference, of a communication from the Hon. Secre- 
tary of War, dated 2 2d inst., calling attention to a copy of 
telegram from the Commanding General of the Military 
Division of the Pacific (Major-Gen. McDowell), dated the 
9th inst., stating that he is informed by the Commanding 
General of the Department of the Columbia, that the 

Digitized by 


Appendix, 257 

Piutes, who have for the last two years been resident on 
the Yakima Reservation, have moved southward, and have 
sent word they desire to return to Winnemucca. 

Major-Gen. McDowell concurs with the latter, that the 
best disposition of these people would be to send them, 
under escort, to the Winnemucca Reservation, and requests 
authority to do so. 

In reply, I have the honor to respectfully report that no 
supplies have been provided for those Indians at any other 
point than at Yakima, and that there are no funds to do 
so. The agent at Yakima has been authorized to pur- 
chase $2,000 worth of cattle for the Piutes of that place, 
and I am of the opinion that the best interests of the In- 
dians will be subserved by keeping them there. 

I have the honor to report that the following telegram 
was sent to agent Smith of the Warm Springs agency, 
Oregon, this day: — 

[Tel.] " If Piutes come to your reservation, you must 
send them back to Yakima, and if they refuse to return, 
you must not feed them." 

Also the following to agent Wilbur, at the Yakima 
Agency: "Z?^ all you can to have the Piutes return to 
your agency, I have telegraphed agent at Warm Springs to 
aid you^^ Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

H. Price, 


General McDowell's appeal, it will be observed, was 
written after the foregoing correspondence between the 
office of the interior and the various army officers who 
were acquainted with the subject, and Father Wilbur of 
the Yakima Reservation. The reasons for and against the 
people being sent back to their homes, and all tlie coun- 
sels upon the subject, were known to Gen. McDowell j and 

Digitized by 


2$ 8 Life Among the Piutes. 

still, at the late date of October^ 1882, he gives it as his 
opinion that the government can only do justice to the 
banished Piutes by restoring them to their own country. 
He acknowledges the inconvenience^ of doing justice to 
them, but still thinks it the duty of the government. 

I know now, from the highest authority, that the govern- 
ment was deceived by the agent, Renehart, who said the In- 
dians would not stay at the Malheur Reservation. After 
being driven away by starvation, after having had every 
promise broken, falsehoods were told about them, and 
there was no one to take their part but a woman. Every 
one knows what a woman must suffer who undertakes to 
act against bad men. My reputation has been assailed, 
and it is done so cunningly that I cannot prove it to be 
unjust. I can only protest that it is unjust, and say that 
wherever I have been known, I have been believed and 

Those who have maligned me have not known me. It 
is true that my people sometimes distrust me, but that is 
because words have been put into my mouth which have 
turned out to be nothing but idle wind. Promises have 
been made to me in high places that have not been kept, 
and I have had to suffer for this in the loss of my people's 
confidence. I have not spoken ill of others behind their 
backs and said fair words to their faces. 1 have been sin- 
cere with my own people when they have done wrong, as 
well as with ray white brothers. Alas, how truly our 
women prophesied when they told my dear old grandfather 
that his white brothers, whom he loved so much, had 
brought sorrow to his people. Their hearts told them the 
truth. My people are ignorant of worldly knowledge, but 
they know what love means and what truth means. They 
have seen their dear ones perish around them because 
their white brothers have given them neither love nor 

Digitized by 



Appendix. 259 

truth. Are not love and truth better than learning ? My 
people have no learning. They do not know anything 
about the history of the world, but they can see the Spirit- 
Father in everything. The beautiful world talks to them 
of their Spirit-Father. They are innocent and simple, but 
they are brave and will not be imposed upon. They are 
patient, but they know black is not white. 

Fort Boise, Idaho Ter.^ August jr, i8?S. 
To all whom it may concern. 

This is to certify that Sarah Winnemucca has rendered 
most valuable services during the operations of this year 
against the hostile Bannock and Piute Indians. About 
the commencement of hostilities, she went for nie from my 
camp to that of the hostiles, distant about a hundred miles, 
and returned bringing exceedingly valuable information 
concerning their number, location, intentions, etc., and she 
also succeeded in getting her father, the Piute chief Win- 
nemucca, with many of his band, to leave the enemy and 
go to Camp McDermitt, Nevada, where they remained 
during the summer campaign. 

R. F. Bernard, ' 
Captain First Cavalry^ Brevet Col. U^ S, Army* 

Central Pacific Railroad Co., 
SuPT.'s Office, San Fh an Cisco, Feb. ij, 187S, 
Mrs. Sarah Winnemucca. 

Dear Madam. — Yours of the 12th to Mr. Towne re- 
ceived. Mr. Emmons, our agent at Lovelock's, said that 
Natchez applied to him for passes for himself and others 
(including you) from Ogden to San Francisco, and I sent 
them to him a few days ago. You had better see Natchez 
and get your pass, and if you will show tliis letter to our 
conductors, they will also allow your sister to ride to San 
Francisco with you on the pass. If you should not be 

Digitized by 


26o Life Among the Piutes, 

able to see Natchez and get your pass, our conductors will 
let yourself and sister ride to San Francisco, by showing 
them this letter. When here, and you want to go back, 
call and see me. Yours, etc., 

E. C. Fellows, 

Asst, Gen, Supt 

Headquarters Battalion of Cavalry, 

Camp on Fayette River, Sept. 5, 1878. 

During the late campaign against the Bannock Indians 
Sarah Winnemucca has been with the various commands 
in the field, and has to my knowledge rendered very valu- 
able service. She is entirely trustworthy and reliable. 

In my opinion she is deserving of great credit for her 
conduct during the campaign. 

Geo. B. Sanford, 
Brevet CoL CaL Maj, ist Cavalry. 

Camp Harney, Oregon, October 28, 1878. 
To ail whom it may concern. 

During the campaign against the Bannock, Piute, and 
Weiser Indians this summer, Sarah Winnemucca has 
rendered the troops valuable assistance, from the begin- 
ning of June until the tenth day of October (when she 
brought one hundred and ninety-five Indians from Camp 
McDiermitt to Camp Harney). She has been constantly 
in the field, enduring hardships that strong men succumbed 
under. Her efliorts in the beginning of the campaign in get- 
ting her father and a large portion of the hostile Indians 
deserve great praise. She is now employed as interpreter 
at this post, and fulfils her duties to the satisfaction of all 

^ Thos. M. Gregor, 

Capt, First Cavalry. 

Digitized by 


Appendix. - 261 

Vancouver Barracks, Nov. ^, 1S79L 

Mrs. Sarah Winnemucca, — I have promised to put in 
writing some opinion as to your capabilities, and it gives 
me great pleasure to state that during the Bannock cam- 
paign of 1878, and also later, you have displayed an 
unusual intelligence and fearlessness, and loyalty to the 
whites in your capacities of scout, interprcttifj and influential 
member of the Piute tribe of Indians. Probably very few 
will ever know how much credit is due you for a successful 
ending of the war in the surrender of the hostile members 
of your tribe, and their subsequent settlement on the Ya- 
kima Indian Reservation ; but it is with sincerity I say that 
in my opinion you were of very great assistance to General 
Howard and Agent Wilbur. 

I am very truly your obedient servant, 

C. li. a Wood. 

Vancouver Bakrjick^, Wash. Ter., 
November 7, iSjOit 
To Gen. B. Whittelsey, Indian Commbsioner Rooms, WasKington^ D.C, 

Dear General, — Please do what you can to assist 
Sarah Winnemucca to have a fair interview with Mr. Ctick- 
ney and also with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 
should her people send her to Washington. She was of 
the greatest assistance to us during the campaign of iSySj 
and has since been working hard for her people » They 
are on the Yakima Reservation partly — partly on the 
Warm Spring Reservation, and the remainder in Nevada, 
near Fort McDermitt. 

Sarah is going now to see the chief, her father, and then 
may go on to Washington with some propositions. Mr, Wil- 
bur, the Yakima Indian agent, thinks Sarah is now a CJiris- 
tian, and wishes me to assist her to prostjcute her JQumey 

Digitized by 


262 Life Among the Piutes. 

to Nevada, which I have gladly done. Of course she knows 
but little of city life, and your advice and kindness will be 
invaluable to her. Very truly yours, 

O. O. Howard. 
Brig, Gen, U, S, A,, Columbia Dept 

Oreana, Humboldt Co., Nevada, Dec. 31, 1879. 
Hon. Wm. M. Evarts, Washington, D.C. 

Dear Sir, — The bearer of this, Miss -Sarah Winne- 
mucca, leaves here for Washington in behalf of her peo- 
ple. I have lived among them in my mining pursuits for 
something over a year, and have found them industrious, 
painstaking, self-sustaining, and dignified in their daily 
life ; quick to see and learn, and intelligent enough to see 
why they have been the victims of the convolutions of the 
reservation plan as managed by the agents here. The 
community do not desire to have them removed, arid they 
seem to have passed the point of needing " reservation " 
care. While their story of right and wrong may be out- 
side of your official responsibility, I know it is a matter 
near your heart. Miss Sarah can tell better than any one 
else why her kindred should be let alone. As a citizen, I 
can say they have shown by their daily conduct that they 
deserve to be. She deserves the attention of our best ears 
at Washington. Respectfully yours, 

Roger Sherman Day, 

(Son of Sherman Day of New Haven, Conn.). 

This letter is unsolicited. 

Washington, D.C, Jan. 24, 1880. 
At the request of Mr. J. M. Haworth, o'^f the Interior 
Department, the following statement is made concerning 
the services rendered the government by Sarah Winne- 
mucca during the Bannock campaign in 1878. About the 
i2th of June, 1878, Captain R. F. Bernard, ist Cavalry, 

Digitized by 


Appendix, ^^^^ 

was encamped with his company on the Winnemucca road 
near Sheep Ranch, I. T. While there he was directed by 
General O. O. Howard, commander of the department of 
the Columbia, to send Sarah Winnemucca into the hostUes* 
camp to communicate with the Indians, and endeavor to 
bring in all or a portion of her tribe, offering her a reward 
should she succeed. Sarah Winnemucca accepted the offer 
and went into the Indian camp, and succeeded in bringing 
out Chief Winnemucca and a portion of her tribe. She 
also furnished valuable information concerning the number 
erf Indians and the position of their camp. 

The reward offered was $500 (five hundred dollars). 

John Pitcher, 

Lieut, First Cavalry, 

Office of Indian Affairs, Washington, 
March 29, iSSp. 
Sarah Winnemucca, Lovelock's, Nevada. 

Madam, — By reference of the Honorable the Secretary 
of the Interior, I am in receipt of your letter dated the 2 ist 
ult., in which you request that your people be furnished 
with subsistence until such time as they can be removed to 
the Malheur Reservation, Oregon, and you are advised 
that this Department is powerless to grant your request, no 
funds being at its command to meet such expenditure \ but 
here is a large quantity of subsistence supplies at said 
agency, from which issues will be made at once upon the 
arrival of your people at that point ; therefore, it will be 
for their interest to remove at as early a day as possible. 
Very respectfully, 

E. J. Brooks, Acting Commissioner, 

Washington, Jan. 36, i88a 

Sarah Winnemucca, present, — You are hereby ap* 
pointed Interpreter for the Pmtes at the Malheur agency, 

Digitized by 


?64 Life Among the Piutes. 

Oregon, at a compensation of $420 per annum, from 
this date. The agent has this day been notified of your 
appointment. Respectfully, 

E. A. HoYT, 

Headquarters of the Columbia, 
Vancouver Barracks, W.T., June 17, 1881. 
To all who may take interest in the bearer of this letter, 
Sarah Winnemucca, I desire to say : During the outbreak 
known as the *' Bannock War," Sarah Winnemucca served 
with General Howard as a scout and guide, and rendered 
valuable service, as I know from my personal experience. 
After the capture of "the hostiles" she devoted herself to 
the interests of her people, the " Piutes," — going with them 
from Fort Harney, Oregon, to the Yakima Reservation, 
then to Washington City, ever intent on trying to ac- 
complish something for their good. For the past year she 
has held a school for the Indian children at Vancouver 
Barracks with marked success. I have known Sarah 
Winnemucca for a number of years, and have never known 
her to do or say a thing that was not perfectly upright and 
womanly. She is honest, true, faithful, and worthy the 
respect and esteem of all good people. I earnestly recom- 
mend her to the kindly regard of all who wish well to her 

Edwin C. Mason, 
Lieut'CoL of 4th Infantry^ Assistant Adji,- General. 

West Point, N.Y., Aug. 6, 1881. 

Dear Sarah, — I enclose you a letter to the Chief 
Clerk, Indian Bureau, whom I know. I have your account 
for transportation made out in good shape, in duplicate, 
and send it with my letter to Mr. Stevens, and I guess 
you *11 get a favorable reply. 

Digitized by 



Appendix. . 265 

I cannot help you in the tradership for your brother-inr 
law. The agent on the Reserve must recommend him. 

We are quite well, and Mrs. Howard will be glad to 
hear from you. Sincerely your friend, 

O. O. Howard. 
Sarah Winnemucca, Salisbury, Madison Co., M.T. 

West Point, Oct i, 1881. 

My Dear Sarah, — What are you doing now, and how 
are you getting on ? I write to ask you as a favor to me to 
please to write me out a description of the way the Indian 
young men and women do their " courting," and the mar- 
riage ceremony, and also the burial of the dead. You 
told me at one time, but I have forgotten. If not too 
much trouble, please also write me a description of that 
flower festival you say the Piutes have in the spring-time. 
Please ask Mr. SymonSb to give you the paper, pen and ink. 

All here are very well. Yours truly, 

C. E. S. Wood. 

Presidio, ^n Francisco, California, Oct 5, 1881. 
To the Commanding General, Department of Columbia, 
Vancouver Barracks, W.T. 

Sir, — The Piutes on the Yakima Reservation, who de- 
sire to return to their people, have been given permission 
to do so by the Interior Department ; but Sarah Winne- 
mucca represents that they are afraid to travel through the 
white settlements, without the protection of troops. The 
Division Commander, therefore, desires that whenever the 
movement of a command is ordered from their neighbor- 
hood towards Fort Boise you notify these Indians, and that 
they be safely conducted there. 

Very respectfully, 

J. C. Breckenridge. 
By command of Major-Get^al McDowell, 

Digitized by 


266 Life Among the Piutes. 

West Point, Jan. 9, 1883. 
Dear Sarah, — I congratulate you upon your marriage. 
I hope your husband will be very kind to you and make 
you happy, as I doubt not you will try to do for him. He 
will tell you where you can apply for the Montana matter. 
I do not know. When your history is done, I will gladly 
aid you all in my power, though I have not much time to 
spare here. With the best wishes from Mrs. Howard and 
m3rsel£, I remain Yours truly, 

O. O. Howard. 

[Editorial of Boston Transcript^ July 6.] 

A Dastardly Attack. — Sarah Winnemucca (Mrs. Hop- 
kins) has been made the object of a villanous attack (call- 
ing in question her private character) in a paper called the 
" Council Fire," whose obscurity would render the article 
harmless had not marked copies been circulated through 
the mails among the people to whom she is appealing for 
defence for her distressed people against the Indian-agency 
jobbers who have been robbing them. The elaboration 
and ingenuity of the means employed to break down her 
reputation indicate that the attack comes from persons 
accustomed to working upon public opinion. At once, upon 
the article in the " Council Fire " coming to her knowledge, 
Mrs. Hopkins wrote to U. S. Judge Bonnifield of Nevada, 
and received the following reply : — 

WiNNBMUCCA, Nev., Junc 19, iSSj, 

Mrs. Sarah Hopkins (nie Winnemucca), — Yours of 
loth inst., with an article from the May number of the 
** Council Fire," is received. In reply, I take pleasure in 
saying that I have known you personally and by reputation 
ever since 1869. Your conduct has always been exemplary, 
so far as I know. I have never heard your veracity or 
phastity questioned in this communis* 

Digitized by 


Appendix, 267 

I handed the article or editorral of the " Council Fire ^ 
to the editor of the " Silver State," and send you herein 
his reply. I also mail you a copy of the " Silver State." 

Your people have just closed a week's " Fandango " at 
this place. Nearly all the captains were present, besides a 
number of Shoshones and Bannocks. There were present 
about four hundred in all. Hoping you may succeed in 
your war upon the corrupt Indian ring, I am yours, etc., 


The Indian Bureau Alarmed. — Sarah Winnemucca, 
the Piute princess, is lecturing in Boston on what she 
knows about Indian agents. She is throwing hot-shot into 
the camp of the " peace policy hypocrites," who plunder 
the red man while professing to be his best, truest, and only 
friend. She knows by practical experience, acquired at 
several Indian agencie's, that the Indians, with the excep- 
tion of the head men, are cheated out of their annuities, 
and not infrequently driven to the war-path by the inhuman 
treatment of those who are paid by the government to care 
for their corporeal as well as spiritual wants. She is aware 
that the Indians at the Malheur Reservation, many of them 
members of her own tribe, joined the hostile Bannocks in 
1878, because they could get nothing to eat at the agency, 
and were starving when the hostiles, loaded with spoils, 
invited them to join them. She also realizes the fact that 
the only time that the Piutes received what .the govern- 
ment provided for them was when the military at Fort 
McDermitt were intrusted with its distribution. Now, be- 
cause she states, before an audience in Boston, what the 
whites in Nevada and on the frontier generally know to be 
facts, the "Council Fire," the Washington organ of the 
Indian Bureau, roundly abuses her, and styles her the 
''Amazonian champion of the army." Without attempting 

Digitized by 


268 Lifa Among the Piutes, 

to refute or disprove her assertions, which it undoubtedly 
knows would be futile, it endeavors to break their force by 
attacking her character. It adopts. the tactics of the ring 
organs generally, and instead of showing wherein she has 
misrepresented the Indian agents, it contents itself with 
slandering her, ignoring the fact that it is the Indian Bureau 
system, not Sarah Winnemucca's character, that the people 
are interested in and that is under discussion. She was 
with General Howard during the Bannock war, and though 
he had an opportunity of knowing more about her reputa- 
tion for truth and veracity than the " Coyncil Fire," he 
approves her views of the Indian question, and counte- 
nances her exposi of the hypocrites, who, while pretending 
to be the truest friends of the Indians, cheat, starve, and 
abuse them, and apply the appropriations made by the 
government for the care of the Indians to their own uses. 
What Sarah Winnemucca says of Indian agents in Boston 
she has asserted before large audiences on this coast, 
whire the Indian policy of the government is thoroughly 
understood, yet no agent has had the hardihood to publicly 
deny her statements through the newspapers or before an 
audience west of the Rocky Mountains. As she states, the 
true peace policy in dealing with the Indians is to place 
them under the care of the military, who, so far as ex- 
perience teaches, deal fairly with them, giving them all that 
the government appropriates for their use, and holding 
their chiefs responsible for their good behavior. The 
" Council Fire " ought to know that scandalous charges 
against this woman, based on false affidavits of rascally 
Indian agents and their paid tools, are not arguments, and 
are no answer to her indictment of these agents, the truth 
of which is not questioned by persons conversant with the 
Indian agencies. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

Digitized by